WENDELL Comboy expected University of the Philippines to go on the attack against a Far Eastern University frontline that was left vulnerable by the absence of Prince Orizu.
Instead, he saw Paul Desiderio and Co. drop one bomb after another.
“Oo nagulat ako! 'Yun 'yung mahirap e. Yung game plan namin wala si Prince, alam namin aatakahin yung loob kaya talagang dinefend namin yung loob," said Comboy after the Maroons' 95-82 win over the Tamaraws.
"Ang ginawa naman nila, nag-triple sila sa labas. 'Yun 'yung mahirap depensahan,” he added. “Sabi nga ni coach Olsen, hindi namin madedepensahan yung lahat. Kaya yun laban lang kami."
Desiderio exploding for a career-high 31 points including seven three-pointers presented a defensive conundrum for the Tamaraws especially in the absence of Orizu and the suspended Arvin Tolentino, Comboy said.
“Na-challenge talaga ako nun kasi kailangan namin mag-extend out sa kanya e. Tapos kailangan din namin mag-collapse para sa big man namin,” Comboy explained.
The dilemma had Comboy missing was former Tamaraws skipper Ron Dennison, who was their designated ‘Desiderio stopper’ during his time with the Tamaraws.
The two go way back during their time as teammates in Cebu, allowing Deninson to read Desiderio’s tendencies better.
“Si Ron kasi talagang leader siya sa team namin nun eh, mas lalo na sa depensa. Kahit mainit yung kalaban, hindi siya nado-down. Nakaka-miss siya lalo na kanina,” said Comboy.
Despite a horrific three-game slide, Comboy remains positive that they’ll be able to turn their fortunes around entering the final stretch of the tournament.
The Tamaraws are currently tied at fourth place with the Fighting Maroons at 5-5 and they need to end their skid quick if they want to stretch their Final Four streak to six years.
“Kailangan lang namin tibayan 'yung loob namin tsaka mag-stay positive. Hindi pa naman huli yung lahat, hindi pa naman kami out sa Final Four. May chance pa rin naman.”