MANILA, Philippines – De La Salle Green Archers' fiery captain Kib Montalbo did not end his UAAP career on the best of terms.
Fighting multiple injuries all season long in his final playing year, the floor general saw his minutes, production and efficiency all trend in the wrong direction.
To top it all off, his Green Archers ended the season on a three-game losing streak, losing last to the FEU Tamaraws in a 70-71 shocker for the final playoff spot.
From going as high as 3rd place in the standings with the Archers, the "Man of Steal" got his one last dream stolen from him.
Santi Santillan's game-winner falls short. Santillan and captain Kib Montalbo end their UAAP careers with a 70-71 knockout loss against FEU. @RapplerSports pic.twitter.com/dzhLskCMQv — JR Isaga (@JRnalistic) November 21, 2018
However, despite openly weeping on court after the Archers' elimination, the graduating guard later managed to put on a smile and and send his appreciation.
As it turns out, he wasn't even supposed to be in that position at all.
"Well, saying thank you just isn't enough. I was just a boy who dreamed of playing with drums," he said. "Back in Bacolod, sabi ko gusto ko lang pumunta nang Maynila para maglaro kasi may drums dito. Sa Bacolod, wala eh. I didn’t expect that I’ll be a captain of La Salle and to lead the team. I never expected that."
(Back in Bacolod, I said I just want to go to Manila to play because there are drums here. Bacolod didn't have those.)
I was once a boy who dreamed of playing in an arena filled with drums. Thank you, La Salle for giving me the privilege to play for you for 5 years. I will forever be grateful for this opportunity that you have given me that changed my life! Not the ending I wanted... pic.twitter.com/auk0B2hgsC — Kib Montalbo (@kibmontalbo) November 21, 2018
but I assure each one of you that I gave it my all. Poured my heart out each game for the green and white. Thank you for everything La Salle! You will forever be in my heart. And no matter what happens, my heart will always bleed green! Kib Montalbo signing off AN1MO!!! — Kib Montalbo (@kibmontalbo) November 21, 2018
All Montalbo wanted was to experience the deafening environment that only the UAAP could offer. But in the end, he nabbed two UAAP championships and was a crucial directing force in the latter half of his career, which eventually led to his captainship.
Apart from aiming to hone his craft further in the PBA D-League, the steely point guard is now focused on wrapping up his studies.
"I’ll finish my degree sa La Salle. I have 40 units left I think. Probably one more year, then I’ll graduate Business Management, he said. "It's because I shifted in 3rd year from Sports Management. I just wanna be with them eh, my teammates. It hurts to leave them."
Montalbo's fiery spirit will no longer be with La Salle moving forward, but he left with his team a reminder that nothing could be achieved without going through the grind like he has done throughout the years.
"Frustrations will always be there," he said. "You just have to deal with them and overcome. That’s why they [need to] overcome themselves first." – Rappler.com