FAR Eastern University coach Nash Racela found the team’s number of fouls in the first half of its game against University of Santo Tomas as ‘surprising,’ but says the Tamaraws’ loss to the Tigers is ‘blessing in disguise.’
The Tamaraws saw their nine-game winning streak in UAAP Season 78 end on Saturday when they lost to the Tigers, 85-76.
The Morayta-based school lost grip of a 14-point lead in the first half en route to the loss that dropped the Tamaraws to a 10-2 card.
Racela said he was surprised the Tams gave up too many fouls in the game, although he immediately pointed out that it was their defense that allowed the Tigers to shoot more free throws, having 34 attempts in the game.
“What was surprising for us is the number of fouls that we had,” said Racela. “The whole tournament, we have been averaging 18 fouls per game lang. Sa first half, we already had 18 fouls.
“Very surprising kasi biglang tumaas in a crucial game like this,” he added.
“It wasn’t the offense that was the problem. It was more on our defense, allowing them to have 34 free throws. That’s the result of our defense,” said Racela.
The defeat allowed UST to sweep FEU in their head-to-head match-up this season. The Tigers also won their first round encounter with the Tams, 72-71.
Nonetheless, Racela hopes the loss will turn things around for the Tamaraws, admitting that it could even be a welcome development for a team whose winning streak was finally snapped.
FEU ends its elimination round assignment against reigning champion National University and La Salle, two crucial games for the Bulldogs and the Green Archers, who are still in the chasing for a Final Four berth.
“It might be a blessing in disguise for us. Actually, assuming na manalo kami ngayon, I don’t even know how my players will look like in the next two weeks when we play NU and La Salle. Those games will be crucial for the Final Four.
“At least, they’ll be more focused,” said Racela.