Nash Racela says FEU had been preparing for Ateneo days before match with La Salle
Nash Racela managed his starters' minutes against La Salle, with the semifinals against Ateneo in mind. Jerome Ascano

IT had its risks, but coach Nash Racela was confident with his management plan and got the results he wanted.

Far Eastern University took the morale-boosting win, ended the alarming slide, and seldom-used players got the needed minutes ahead of the UAAP semifinals.

Racela reiterated he wanted the win, but admitted he already had an eye on the semifinals against Ateneo as they battled La Salle in the final match of the elimination round, thus giving stars Mac Belo and Mike Tolomia limited minutes.

The Tamaraws pulled off a come-from-behind 71-68 victory to send the Green Archers to an early vacation.

Belo played for 13 minutes and Tolomia 10 minutes, while no Tamaraws played more than 21 minutes in a game that wasn’t going to affect their seeding in the semifinals, win or lose.

[See FEU Tamaraws put shock end to La Salle quest for Final Four berth with big comeback]

“The last time I talked to you, I said we will try to get the win because that’s something that we teach to the players to do their best and win everytime. But again, we also have the intention of keeping our guys fresh in the event that we play on Saturday because it’s going to be back-to-back games and it’s hard. Ateneo is resting and preparing for us.”

“We made it clear during halftime that even when we were down by 10, the objective was still to win. As coaches, if we have a chance to win, we will go for it,” said Racela.

Monbert Arong led the way for the Tamaraws with 13 points and Roger Pogoy scored 11, including key baskets in the fourth.

“That’s also the objective, to prepare the other players for the Final Four in the event na kailanganin naman sila. You’ll never know when you need them. I think we saw that the players were ready and they stepped forward.

Racela also revealed said they have been preparing for Ateneo, its Final Four opponent, since early this week, even before the match against the Green Archers.

 “Actually, we have started preparing for them nung Monday pa,” Racela bared.

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