August 8, 2022
Finally playing for La Salle after a long layoff and a short Gilas Pilipinas stint, Kevin Quiambao takes his new challenge head-on with excellent performances in the PBA D-League

MANILA, Philippines – After two years of waiting, the La Salle Green Archers have finally unleashed prized recruit Kevin Quiambao, and the early results have left fans definitely wanting more.

Fresh off an eye-opening stint with Gilas Pilipinas in the FIBA Asia Cup – where he was likened by none other than FIBA itself to two-time NBA MVP Nikola Jokic – Quiambao immediately impressed in his debut with the green and white in the PBA D-League.

In just 22 minutes off the bench, the 21-year-old standout stuffed the stat sheet with a near triple-double off 15 points, 10 rebounds, and 7 assists to help La Salle hand Letran its first loss in the 2022 Aspirants’ Cup, 94-87, last Tuesday, July 26.

After the game, the former member of NU’s loaded high school championship team chalked up his excellent debut to the experience he gained with Gilas.

“My Gilas experience was huge, and it translated well with La Salle. I just shared my experiences with the national team, and I think I was able to inspire my teammates the whole game,” he said in Filipino.

Like La Salle, Quiambao himself was just aching to play for his new alma mater since committing to the program way back in August 2020.

“I haven’t been playing in a long time. My last playing year was still back in high school. My quick transition from high school to Gilas helped me gain confidence once I got here with La Salle,” he continued.

Just 24 hours later on Wednesday, July 27, Quiambao showed off again in a rare D-League back-to-back slate as he dropped 18 points, 8 boards, and 6 dimes in a narrow 72-69 escape of the St. Clare Saints – a five-time reigning collegiate champion in their mother league.

Head coach Derick Pumaren’s assessment of his prized ward after Tuesday’s game surely aged well, as he gave the 6-foot-4 prospect glowing remarks and a steep challenge in the same breath.

“No no, I’m not surprised [with his performance.] I know what he can do. The thing about Kevin is he inspires players. He inspires teammates to play hard or be aware with what’s happening,” said the multi-titled tactician.

’Di siya pwedeng tatanga-tanga (He can’t be playing stupidly).”

Fans have only been treated to a small, two-day sample size, but the natural all-around talent and veteran-like basketball IQ are certainly evident with Quiambao right from the get-go.

With teammates like Michael Phillips, Schonny Winston, Evan Nelle, Mark Nonoy surrounding him, the Green Archers are definitely another UAAP team to watch and beat once the next season rolls around. – Rappler.com

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