LIFE without stars Terrence Romeo and RR Garcia is going smoothly for Far Eastern University so far.
“Terrence? Sino ‘yun?” FEU coach Nash Racela answered in jest when asked if the team has already adjusted to the departure of last season's one-two punch of Romeo and Garcia.
Romeo was the Tamaraws' top scorer and was still eligible to play for a fifth and final year, but the flamboyant guard decided to turn pro after winning the 2013 UAAP Most Valuable Player award.
On the other hand, Garcia, the league MVP in 2010, played out his final year of eligibility with FEU last season. Both he and Romeo ended up being picked in the first round of the PBA draft by GlobalPort.
Racela said the school has already moved on from the Romeo-Garcia era as he expressed confidence the players who were left behind are capable of taking over the team.
“We are past that already,” said Racela. “As early as the PCCL.”
“Ang importante sa amin is we know what we are capable of doing. ‘Yun ang tinuturo namin na may kakayahan sila,” added Racela.
Without Romeo and Garcia, FEU’s attention now turns on Mike Tolomia and Mark Belo in its bid to return to the Final Four after showing marked improvement during the UAAP offseason.
While Tolomia is definitely capable of scoring, Racela said he is starting to develop into a ‘willing passer’ under his team-first approach.
“I’m starting to realize that he is a willing passer. That differentiates him from the others. But at times, meron pa ring mga moments. Pinag-aaralan niya ‘yun. Hopefully come the UAAP, he makes the right decision,” said Racela.
Belo, meanwhile, continues to develop his game after his stint with Sinag Pilipinas during the Southeast Asian Games in Myanmar last year.
“We are preparing him to be a perimeter player. ‘Yun ang target namin. It will help him down the road even after the UAAP. I know he is capable of playing multiple positions. I think he is doing good,” said Racela.
Racela, however, made it clear his Tamaraws are still a work in progress.
“The learning continues. Once you know that you trust your team, hindi ka puwedeng mag-ball hog at tumitira ng wala sa puwesto. My request is to make the right decision, take the open shot or pass kung may other option,” said Racela.