FAR Eastern University coach Nash Racela played up the positives after failing to lead the school to the 2014 UAAP championship, saying the Tamaraws exceeded expectations this season.
The Tamaraws were one win away from their first league title in nine years after winning Game One but couldn’t finish off National University. Instead, it was the Bulldogs who broke their own title drought spanning six decades by winning the final two games of the best-of-three series.
The sad end, however, was not entirely disappointing for second-year coach Racela, who had seen his team get as far as the finals in a season where the Tamaraws were supposedly in transition following the departure of former league MVPs Terrence Romeo and RR Garcia.
“I think we overachieved as a group,” said Racela. “At the start of the season, no one expected us to be in the Final Four.
Before the showdown against the Bulldogs, the Tamaraws entered the finals by booting out the defending champions La Salle Green Archers, which the FEU coach said is an accomplishment in itself.
“To the surprise of many, we made it to the Final Four. We even made it to the finals beating the defending champion. That in itself is an achievement. Not because we lost to the champion, ibig sabihin we failed,” he said.
Racela said the longer time spent by the Bulldogs together under head coach Eric Altamirano made a big difference in the finals as NU played with more cohesion in the stretches tht mattered.
It's something the Tamaraws still lack, he added.
“If you look at NU, that is why they have that kind of discipline dahil ilang taon mo ng ginagawa. Kahit nakapikit, alam na nila ang gagawin. It is something that we still lack. I think time will help us,” said Racela.