THEIR protest of the controversial loss to Ateneo last week was junked, but FEU coach Nash Racela said they could use it as a motivation as the Tamaraws begin their UAAP Season 77 playoff against defending champion La Salle Green Archers on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Tamaraws were bidding for the No. 2 playoff seeding, but wound up needing to see action a playoff after following a controversial 64-68 overtime loss to the Blue Eagles last week.
FEU ended the 14-game eliminations tied with La Salle at 10-4, setting their Final Four rematch this season.
“Actually, when we received yung email ng commissioner on his decision, it was during our practice, so right away, in the middle of practice, we huddled them (Tamaraws) and informed them of the decision,” Nash said.
The match starts at 4 p.m., with the winner earning the No. 2 spot and the twice-to-beat incentive.
“We decided as a group to move on agad, and okay naman because we had a good practice. Ang importante is we sustain that hanggang sa game,” he added.
Racela said the Tamaraws can use Jao’s decision and last season’s Final Four loss to the Green Archers to fuel the fire in their bid for a Finals stint since the 2011 season.
“Dalawa yan (motivation), how we lost to Ateneo and the commissioner’s decision can be a motivation. Then, playing La Salle, which is the same scenario we had last year,” he said.
“We just have to remember the feeling of losing to La Salle last year going to the series and hopefully, we get it this time,” added the second-year FEU coach.
Meantime, La Salle coach Juno Sauler said the Green Archers cannot afford to let the Tamaraws get their running game going, citing the need to contain Mike Tolomia and Mac Belo.
“They're a fast-paced team and I think the first two outings we played them, we got beaten off in transition so that's something we have to take care of,” said Sauler.
“We need to defend their scorers like Belo and Tolomia.”
La Salle is 0-2 against FEU this season, dropping a 77-82 decision in the first round, before going down, 70-74 in their rematch.