FAR Eastern University surprised everyone, including its head coach, as the Tamaraws showed they can hold their ground against perhaps the best team in the UAAP this season.
The Tamaraws trailed La Salle by 16 points on Wednesday but stormed back and were able to make it a competitive match of it in the fourth quarter, even tying the game briefly at 74.
La Salle’s poise eventually took over to quash FEU’s late run and come up with an 83-78 victory.
FEU coach Nash Racela admitted being surprised by the effort of the young Tamaraws — with stars like Mac Belo, Mike Tolomia, and Roger Pogoy no longer in the roster — against the mighty Green Archers.
“When you have a young team, you become unpredictable,” said Racela. “And I think comparing to last year, we had stability and you go to the game confident that somebody will perform.”
“But because you have a very young, inexperienced team, even myself, when I went to the game, I want to be confident. I don’t want to show the other team na hindi ako naniniwala sa team. But I was really surprised that they exceeded my expectations as a coach,” he added.
Ron Dennison led the way for the Tamaraws on offense with 13 points, but also contributed on the other end as he also finished with two steals - the same output as Raymar Jose and Axel Inigo.
Racela was proud to see his players hold their ground against La Salle and the vaunted pressure defense of coach Aldin Ayo which the Green Archers called ‘Mayhem.’
“I think the fact that we were able to compete against La Salle. People talk about their mayhem but if you look at the turnovers, they had 27, we had 17,” Racela said.
“They were able to experience FEU’s version of the mayhem,” he added.