FAR EASTERN University seeks to neutralize the big men of De La Salle as it seeks a fourth straight win in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Tamaraws are looking to keep their unbeaten slate in the hopes of matching the 4-0 start of last season’s team in the 4 p.m. clash against the Green Archers.
FEU coach Nash Racela acknowledges the strength of La Salle lies in its big men as shown in the Archers’ 82-73 victory over rival Ateneo Blue Eagles last week.
Racela will obviously stretch his frontcourt against La Salle, and singled out back-up center Christian Sentcheu as someone likely to play a key role in the game.
Sentcheu had six rebounds and five blocks in the Tamaraws’ 75-57 win over University of the Philippines also last week.
“La Salle is a tough team,” said Racela. “Alam ko na ang strength nila is their bigs. With the way Christian has been playing defensively, malaking bagay siya for us against La Salle.”
At the same time, Racela downplayed another fast start by the Morayta-based squad.
“Same feeling when you are 1-0,” Racela said when asked about the hot start. “At this point, we need to control our emotions just like what we always remind them. Last year, they were 4-0. 3-0 is nothing.”
The Archers are currently on a high following a big win over the reigning five-time champion Eagles as they snapped their six-game losing skid to their longtime nemesis.
La Salle coach Juno Sauler, however, refused to be carried away with the victory as the Archers hope to bring the same mindset to the match against FEU.
“We treat every game the same,” said Sauler. “We play each game with the same mindset.”
Racela also recognizes what Sauler can bring to the Archers, who are looking to break from a four-way tie in second place with 2-1 win-loss slate.
“I know they are a well-coached team. I agree that he is a smart coach. Nakasama ko na si coach Juno before. Alam niya kung ano puwede niyang gawin sa La Salle,” said Racela.