MANILA, Philippines – Far Eastern University (FEU) head coach Nash Racela praised forward Mac Belo for showing "true leadership" in the Tamaraws' 85-71 win over the University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons on Sunday.
Belo came off the bench to score 12 points and grab nine rebounds in just over 21 minutes of playing time against the Maroons, and his coach praised his willingness to make that sacrifice.
"Today Mac showed his true leadership," Racela said of Belo, who had started in their previous two games. "We changed our starting unit. Si Mac came off the bench even after playing two very good games."
"Nag-sacrifice siya because we're trying to find a perfect mix sa rotation namin," he added. "And even coming off the bench, hindi siya nag-pilit. He was just making the right decisions."
Although he came off the bench, Belo still played the most minutes in the team and was one of five Tamaraws in double-digits.
Guard Mike Tolomia led the way for FEU with 18 points on 7-of-8 shooting, and also earned praise from Racela.
"I think he made his adjustments," Racela said of Tolomia, who struggled in their loss to UST last week. "Ganyan naman ang players eh. Sometimes, they struggle after a really bad game, and then expect them to play better the next time."
"Si Mike lang really focused the last few days, kaya mas maganda ang nilaro niya today," he added.
Indeed, Racela was pleased with how his entire team – and not just his two stars – performed, especially during a frenetic third quarter when they outscored UP 25-8 and turned a 45-38 halftime lead into a 70-46 beatdown.
"'Yung third quarter, kumbaga, it's how the game should be played," said Racela. "Walang pinipilit, just making the right decisions, finding the open guy, and then defending."
"I think today, as a team we were still struggling, but when we were able to correct those mistakes namin, then it was a beauty," he also said. "Parang maganda kaming panoorin kapag tama 'yung mga decisions namin."