IS Saturday’s highly-awaited match up etween Far Eastern University and University of Santo Tomas going to be a preview of this year’s UAAP Season 78 finals?
Tamaraws coach Nash Racela was the first to play down the notion.
“Ayokong pag-isipan,” said Racela when asked about the scenario heading to the 4 p.m. showdown at the Smart Araneta Coliseum between the top two teams in the standings.
“Alam naman natin na last year, Ateneo was number one and (eventual champion) NU was number four. There’s no assurance. I think there was even a year na na-sweep tapos they didn’t win,” he added.
Banking on veteran smarts and a deep bench, the Tamaraws have been the hottest team in the season so far with a nine-game winning streak for a league-best 10-1 record.
The Tamaraws can make it a perfect 10 should they beat the Tigers in a game many have already been anticipating as this year’s title showdown.
Racela, however, isn’t looking that far ahead.
Before talking about a potential championship match-up, Racela noted the difficult schedule the Tamaraws are facing towards the end of the eliminations.
After UST, the only team that has beaten FEU so far this season, (72-71), the Tamaraws will still tackle defending champion National University on November 14 before ending its elims campaign with a duel against De La Salle on a date still to be determined.
“We are always concerned because we lost to UST in the first round, and NU and La Salle need every game. If you think about it, they need to win more than we do. But we will try to manage that,” said Racela.
The Morayta-based team comes to the game against UST well-rested after winning over Adamson last October 28, and the Tamaraws, according to Racela, intend to close the elimination round on a positive note.
“We want to be consistent. I think it’s clear with the players that we will try to win every game regardless of the standings,” he said.
But first, FEU needs to take care of business against UST.
“We will try to split. Last year, nag-split din kami. Again, the goal is to prepare against UST and win,” said Racela.