La Salle’s Montalbo bags POW plum

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Kib Montalbo is grateful of the opportunity to flourish under new coach Aldin Ayo as De La Salle University continues to dominate the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Season 79 men’s basketball tournament.

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A year after being sidelined with an ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) injury, Montalbo showed why he’s a major contributor in the Green Archers’ unbeaten run during Saturday’s victory over the Adamson Falcons at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Montalbo had 12 points, eight rebounds, six assists and three steals to help power La Salle to a 91-75 win that gave the Taft-based squad a 5-0 record, while moving two victories shy of sweeping the first round.

His performance earned him the Accel Quantum/3XVI-UAAP Press Corps Player of the Week honors, becoming the third straight La Salle player to earn the citation after Ben Mbala and Jeron Teng.

“It’s a blessing in disguise,” Montalbo said, referring to the injury, which he suffered prior to last season’s UAAP campaign.

“I’m really happy that I’m back on the floor, especially with coach’s system in place. I really like that pace—rough. And whatever my role is, I’ll accept it.”

Ayo is pleased that the 5-foot-9 product of St. John’s Institute in Bacolod City is thriving under his game plan that focuses on implementing a stingy defense known as “Mayhem.”

“He’s steady,” said Ayo. “He prioritizes defense, the intangibles. He just goes with the flow and executes on offense.”

Montalbo won the weekly honor over Mbala, Far Eastern University’s Monbert Arong and Ateneo’s Anton Asistio.

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