Athlete Carl Tamayo is leaving the UP Fighting Maroons after two seasons for Japan B. League.
In an Instagram post shared on Tuesday, January 10, the former Rookie of the Year said that playing for his university has been "one of the greatest blessings" in his life.
"I am grateful to Coach Gold, Coach Bo, our Sponsors, the whole team, the people behind Nowhere to go but UP, and the UP community for welcoming me into the UP family and for contributing to my growth as a basketball player. Thank you po sa inyong lahat," Tamayo wrote in his lengthy post.
The 21-year-old basketball player added that he is "especially grateful" because becoming an athlete has "opened the doors to even more blessings and opportunities." He then announced that he has accepted an offer to play pro in Japan.
"I would like to share with everyone that I have been invited to play in the Japanese B-League, and after consulting my family, Coach Gold, my teammates, and the UPMBT management, I have decided to accept the offer to play professionally in Japan," he said.
He said that becoming a pro basketball player has been a longtime dream of his ever since he started playing organized basketball.
"It will allow me to care of my family while playing the game that I love," he said.
While he has yet to disclose his new team, Tamayo expressed his thanks for his supporters.
"To the UP community and to the team’s fans, salamat kaayo; I cannot thank you enough for your prayers and for your support. Whatever colors I wear in the years to come, my heart will always bleed maroon."
Agaton Teodoro Uvero of the UP MBT Management, meanwhile, also released a statement about his move.
"As much as the UP community would love him play even for one more season, we truly understand and fully support his decision," he wrote.
He cited COVID and the K-12 program, plus the openings in international basketball leagues as some of the challenges for Filipino college basketball players.
"Players from high school are now older and much more mature compared to seasons past, with some of these athletes read for the pros."
"Carl is certainly a special talent. He received offeres from abroad even before he played his first college game," he noted.
Uvero then wished him luck and success for his career.
"The UP community will always cherish the memories of UAAP seasons 84 and 85," he said.