RYUKYU is the destination of collegiate superstar Carl Tamayo after signing with the Golden Kings in the Japan B. League.

A day after he announced his departure from the University of the Philippines, Mr. Tamayo yesterday was officially unveiled by Ryukyu as its Asian import in the ongoing Japan B. League regular season.

“I am honored and very excited to be part of this great organization, Ryukyu Golden Kings,” said Mr. Tamayo, 21, in his overseas jump to turn pro.

Mr. Tamayo is joining a formidable Ryukyu squad featuring former PBA import Allen Durham on the heels of a runner-up finish last Japan B. League season.

The Golden Kings currently sport a 21-7 card at fifth place with hopes of climbing the ranks midway through the season with Mr. Tamayo’s help.

Ryukyu has high hopes for Mr. Tamayo, a former UAAP Rookie of the Year and two-time Mythical Five member behind averages of 13.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.4 assists.

“With his well-endowed physique and wide range of shots, he can be expected to play an active role immediately,” said Ryukyu on the 6-foot-7 forward from the Fighting Maroons.

The native of Cebu anchored UP to back-to-back finals appearances in the UAAP highlighted by a championship in Season 84 to snap a 36-year title drought.

Also a mainstay in the Gilas Pilipinas, Mr. Tamayo will be up against his national teammates in June Mar Fajardo and CJ Perez of San Miguel in the East Asia Super League (EASL) Champions Week in March in Japan.

SMB, as representatives of PBA in the EASL with TNT, will tangle with Ryukyu on March 2 before taking on Korea’s Anyang KGC featuring another Filipino import in ex-NCAA Rookie-MVP Rhenz Abando of Letran on March 4. — John Bryan Ulanday