Tams fighting perception they're mainly an offensive squad: ‘This team is an underrated defensive team,’ says Racela
The Tamarawsa are a win away from the title, and coach Nash Racela notes it's because of defense. Jerome Ascano

FAR Eastern University coach Nash Racela was pleased to see Far Eastern University come up with huge stops and disprove critics, after pre-game analysis that tagged the Tigers-Tamaraws title showdown as matchup of fine offense and solid defense.

The Tamaraws shone on both ends of the floor in winning the opener of the UAAP best-of-three finals, and Racela pointed out it was defense that earned them the victory.

“This team is an underrated defensive team,” said Racela.

“These boys really work hard kapag depensa ang pinaguusapan. And I think it showed today.”

[See FEU Tamaraws super subs hold off late UST Tigers fightback in Game One of UAAP Finals]

Analysts and rival coaches expected FEU to rely much on its firepower and deep bench, and the Tamaraws did, but Racela stressed his players managed to recover and hold off the Tigers, who have had a habit of grabbing come from behind wins.

After a slow start, the Morayta-based school got things going behind Roger Pogoy, who scored 12 of his 15 points in the first period. The Tamaraws went on to take a 19-10 second-quarter output to take a 47-34 halftime lead.

“I think during the start of the game, we had consecutive lapses that gave them momentum. But when we did things correctly, nakakuha kami ng tempo,” said Racela.

[See FEU or UST? League coaches foresee an old-fashioned Offense vs Defense showdown

UST did come up with a huge late rally in the third period, and took a 62-61 edge, but the Tamaraws answered with a telling 14-0 run.

“It was the two or three consecutive stops. I think that took them away from the game,” said Racela.


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