THERE will be no season sweep for the Far Eastern University-Nicanor Reyes Medical Foundaton in the 5th DeLeague Cup in Marikina City.
After a flawless 8-0 campaign in the eliminations and single round robin semifinals, the ballclub suffered a stinging 57-72 loss at the hands of Hobe Bihon-Cars Unlimited in the finals, where the Hospital Tamaraws enjoy a twice-to-beat edge.
FEU-NRMF played minus key players Willie Miller, who joined his ABL team Pilipinas MX3 Kings in Thailand, and Bright Akhuetie, who played for the Philippines in the last Fiba All Stars in Doha, Qatar.
Rodrigue Ebondo made sure that Hobe won’t succumb to its third straight loss in the tournament to its arch-rivals by drilling three straight three-pointers in the third period to take the fight out of the Tamaraws.
Without Miller and Akhuete, the Tamaraws found a hard time breaking the defense of the much taller Hobe side, anchored by SouthWestern University Cobras star center Landry Sanjo.
“Medyo malungkot siyempre, eliminations, semifinals - sweep. Ayaw ko namang magbigay ng excuse, medyo malas kami, saka wala kaming pang stop kay Sanjo, masyadong malakas sa poste, pag andito si Bright, may makakatulong kami,” said FEU-NRMF team captain Leo Avenido.
“Nasa kanila ang momentum, pero di namin hahayaan na mabalewala ang twice-to-beat advantage namin (sa finals),” added the former PBA shooting guard.
Hobe coach Braulio Lim is optimistic they can sustain the momentum.
“Nakikita ko parang maganda ang nangyari kanina (sa game), sana magtuloy-tuloy. Yung morale namin medyo mataas, sana magamit namin. Yung intensity sana makuha ulit nila at 'yung tiwala sa sarili,” said Lim, a former star forward of the University of the East.
“Gagawin namin ang lahat makuha lang ulit itong kampyeonato,” said the champion coach of the Hobe team in 2012 and 2013.