IN a testament to how Far Eastern University values team play, no one from the school was named part of the UAAP Mythical Team for Season 78.
But collectively, the Tamaraws were rewarded with the bigger prize when they won the men’s basketball championship that has eluded them for a decade after beating University of Santo Tomas, 67-62, in a classic win-or-go home duel at the Mall of Asia Arena.
FEU coach Nash Racela said his players missing out on the major individual awards is proof how the team sacrificed a lot for a common goal - win the championship.
“The awarding, it says something about this team,” said Racela. “We didn’t get any individual awards and it’s because the players sacrificed.”
“This is the common goal that we have and we got rewarded,” he added.
Mac Belo finally became the first FEU player to bag an individual plum during the season when he was named Finals MVP following his scintillating performance in the deciding Game Three that saw the former national team player finished with 23 points and eight rebounds.
But while Belo was thrust in the spotlight, Racela said his other teammates also deserve some praise and a share of the Finals MVP award.
“That finals MVP is something that Mac will share with his teammates. Pa-iba-iba naman every game (ang nagiistep-up). But I think, sa Game Three, it was Mac who delivered the points.
“But Roger (Pogoy) has been playing exceptional dito sa finals. Si Mike (Tolomia) had his moments struggling but again, kung hindi binigay ni Mike ‘yung bola, hindi rin makaka-score si Mac. I think it’s a collective effort of the team,” said Racela.
“I’m not saying that he (Belo) is not deserving. He is deserving, but I want him to share it to his teammates up to the last guy,” said the FEU mentor.
Racela said he told the Tamaraws ever since that playing for a championship will help them in achieving their dreams of making it to the PBA.
“We talked about it since last year, na if you want to be in the PBA, kailangang mag-champion kayo,” he said.