Tamaraws made FEU community proud: Racela
MANILA, Philippines – Despite the sorry end of their UAAP Season 76 campaign, the Far Eastern University (FEU) Tamaraws still succeeded in making the FEU community proud and lifting the image of the team, head coach Nash Racela said.
The Tamaraws, who raced to a 7-0 start this season before stumbling in the second round, bowed out of the competition on Wednesday after losing to La Salle, 68-71, in their Final Four showdown.
“Ganoon talaga,” Racela said after the game. “That’s the story of basketball. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.”
“But I think, the more important thing sa amin is, sinabi namin sa kanila na I think this year, we represented the school better, at least compared to the previous year,” he added. “Though we had a number of maybe questionable suspensions, I think mas maganda pa rin ‘yung pinakita namin.”
“I think the FEU community is proud of how they performed.”
The coach said he reminded his players to keep their heads up.
“Kami, we’re happy. We told the players to just be proud of themselves, lumabas tayo dito with heads up,” Racela said. “Sabi nga ni RR (Garcia), they know sa sarili nila na they gave everything that they got.”
“In the end, ‘yun lang naman ang gusto mo, your players always giving their best,” he added.
Moreover, Racela said their season can still be considered an achievement, especially as they were not even thought of as a Final Four team before the tournament started.
“At the start of the season, nobody talked about us,” he said, noting that FEU was placed sixth in many pre-season rankings. “We’re not really proving anybody wrong, but we took it as a challenge. And I think, kung hindi considered sa Final Four (ang team), and you still made it to the Final Four, then it’s already an achievement.”
“We did not get the outcome that we wanted, but still, masaya kami,” Racela said.
FEU will only lose Garcia and Gryann Mendoza to graduation. UAAP Season 76 MVP Terrence Romeo has already committed to returning for his final playing year for the Tamaraws, and several key contributors – including Mike Tolomia, Roger Pogoy and Christian Sentcheu – all still have two years of edibility left.
Because of this, Racela sees a bright future for the Tamaraws for as long as they continue improving.
“This is something I told them. ‘Yung group natin is destined for greatness. We can achieve big things. But sa aking observation, ang pumipigil, tayo,” Racela said. “We’re trying to change everything, pero may mga nangyayari na ayaw sana namin.”
“But I think it’s still very positive. Nakikita namin ‘yung mga problema ng team. Next year, alam ko na pag buo sila, malayo ang mararating nila,” he said.