Sidelined by an anterior cruciate ligament injury last year, La Salle’s veteran guard Kib Montalbo has been making a steady progress on his comeback trail.
The 5-foot-10 Montalbo took his turn to shine on Saturday when he provided a little bit of everything in the Green Archers’ 91-75 victory over the Adamson U Soaring Falcons to keep their stranglehold of the solo lead in the UAAP Season 79 men’s basketball tourney at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Coming off the bench anew, Montalbo was all over the floor in 27 efficient minutes of play, collecting 12 points,spiked by three triples, on top of eight rebounds and six assists while providing the needed stability and defensive tenacity in the Green Archers’ methodical finish.
“Si Kib steady,” beamed La Salle’s first-year coach Aldin Ayo during the post-match interview, with Montalbo and prized import Ben Mbala sitting beside him.
“He prioritizes defense and intangibles. Sa offense he just goes with the flow, executes the offense and kung anong meron sa kanya, du’n siya naka-focus,” he added.
While he certainly waxed hot from beyond the arc much to his surprise, Montalbo said he’s more determined in doing his fair share on the defensive end.
“I’m very confident and I practice those three point shots. Pero sa depensa lang talaga nagpo-focus,” stressed the proud Bacolod City native, who’s pleased that he’s finally getting into his top form.
“It’s a blessing in disguise. I thank God for it that I’m stronger now. I’m really happy that I’m back in the floor,” he said. “Especially with coach Ayo’s system I really like that pace. Kung ano ibibigay nila sakin, I’ll accept it.” – By Jerome Lagunzad