MANILA, Philippines — Kevin Quiambao tallied his second triple-double in the UAAP Season 86 men’s basketball tournament but the credit still went to coach Topex Robinson and the La Salle Green Archers for bringing out the best in him.
“Coach unleashed my potential and I’m so grateful to all of them, my teammates and coaches, for their all out support. I just stuck to the system,” said Quiambao in Filipino after tallying 17 points, 19 rebounds, 12 assists, four steals, and two blocks.
The MVP frontrunner led La Salle to its sixth straight win after beating University of the East, 86-76, on Sunday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
La Salle coach Robinson marveled at the sophomore, who became the first men’s player to tally two triple-doubles in a season in the Final Four Era, as he continues to do amazing things and lead by example for the Green Archers.
“Kevin is really a blessing to us. He’s one of those guys that I’m fortunate to coach. These guys just make my job easier. They’re gonna make decisions that I don’t even know what they’re gonna do. I guess that’s where trust comes in that they’re gonna make the right decisions. One good thing about Kevin, he makes everyone around him look good. So that shows how much he really cares for this team,” said Robinson.
For Robinson, Quiambao’s determination and hard work to win the championship led to his stellar performance this season.
“More than obviously getting that individual award, obviously winning the championship is so important but the work that he puts in, sometimes we really have to force him not to practice because he’s gonna do some things so we really have to guard him during practice time because next thing you know he’s on the bike doing his runs. Next thing you know he’s gonna do mobility,” Robinson said.
“That just shows so much as great of a leader he is. He’s one of the leaders together with Mark [Nonoy]. He ups the level of the team because when your leader doesn’t rest, his teammates will follow. That’s the energy he brings to us.”
Quiambao, who has been animated every time he scores big baskets or his teammates convert his passes, is thrilled to energize the Green Archers and their fans.
“First of all, yung mga gestures ko talagang pang-boost lang sa mga teammates ko and sa crowd na pumunta rito para mapanood kami. Sinabi nga ni Mark na tumataas ang kompiyansa nila kapag nakikita nila na masaya ako na totoo naman talaga,” he said. “Gusto ko lang i-run ang system ni coach and buong team naman nai-run namin ng maayos. Nu’ng second half lagi naming sinasabi i-enjoy lang namin yung laro and sobra kaming nag-enjoy. Good things happen in the game.”
Mark Nonoy, who played his best game of the season yet firing seven triples to finish with 25 points, relished the energy and assists of Quiambao.
“First, masaya ako kasi nakikita ko parang nag-e-enjoy kami. Kapag naka-assist si Kevin parang nadadala kami sa mga reaksyon niya, so parang yun ang ultimate goal namin na before kami mag-step sa court kailangan mag-enjoy kami. Wag kami madala sa pressure, kailangang mag-enjoy kami,” Nonoy said.
Final Four-bound La Salle wraps its elimination round against Far Eastern University on Wednesday at Mall of Asia Arena before its rivalry match against Ateneo on Saturday at the Big Dome.