FAR Eastern University coach Nash Racela is fine whether it be University of Santo Tomas or National University the Tamaraws would be facing in UAAP Season 78 finals.
The Tamaraws have a score to settle against both teams.
“We want to play UST because they beat us twice this year. At the same time, we want to play NU because they beat us last year. Kahit sino talaga,” said Racela shortly after the Morayta-based school booked a second straight trip to the championship round after ousting Ateneo on Saturday night, 76-74, behind Mac Belo’s game-winning putback.
The waiting game starts for FEU as UST and reigning champion NU dispute the remaining finals berth on Sunday. The Tamaraws could remain idle for days should the Bulldogs, the No. 4 seeds, forge a do-or-die match scheduled to be played on Wednesday, a possible Game One playdate of the best-of-three title series.
Against the Bulldogs, who beat them for the crown last year, the Tamaraws are 1-1 this season.
Racela stressed the Tamaraws tried to be as low-key as possible, playing down the notion that they are the ‘team-to-beat’ this season behind a team anchored on veterans Belo, Mike Tolomia, and RR Pogoy.
While they can’t avoid the spotlight now that they’re heading to the finals, Racela is confident the Tamaraws will have the right mindset going to the championship series.
“Actually, we were happy when we lost our first game against UST kasi after that, sila na ang pinag-uusapan. Biglang nabalik kami sa ibabaw, and then people are talking about us again until natalo kami sa second round.
“For us, there is no pressure at all kahit kami ‘yung sinasabi na ‘yung supposed team na strongest. It’s a challenge for us. Pinaghahandaan namin. I know my players, they spend time preparing for everything,” said Racela.