FAR Eastern University claims it is the underdog in its UAAP Season 78 title series against University of Santo Tomas, which begins Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Tamaraws team manager Ritchie Ticzon said he sees a tough task for the Tamaraws to overcome the Growling Tigers, a team which he said has mature players and experience playing in crucial games.
Ticzon added the core of Kevin Ferrer, Karim Abdul, and Ed Daquioag have been in the finals before, losing in the 2012 and 2013 title series in a roster that included former gunner Jeric Teng.
He also noted the Tamaraws have not won against the Tigers this season in their two head-to-head encounter in the elimination round.
“They beat us twice in the eliminations and I think they have a mature core at this point with Abdul, Ferrer, Daquioag, and (Louie) Vigil. They may also have more experience in terms of (playing in the) finals,” said Ticzon during the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum on Tuesday at Shakey's Malate.
Despite being the underdogs, Ticzon said the Tamaraws are looking to take advantage of their strengths in the backcourt.
“I think the guard position with (Achie) Inigo and (Mike) Tolomia, I think we have the advantage there. Hopefully, (Roger) Pogoy and (Mac) Belo also play well at the ‘3.’
“Definitely, ‘yung 4 and 5, I think UST has the advantage,” Ticzon said.
The series opener is set at 3:30 p.m.
Although Ticzon said winning Game One is important, winning two games in the finals is the name of the series, citing what National University did to the Tamaraws last season when the Bulldogs overcame a Game One loss to win the title.
“Definitely, in a short series like a best-of-three, Game One is crucial. But at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter,” said Ticzon.
FEU is looking to win its first UAAP crown since 2005, a year before UST also clinched its last title in the collegiate league.
A representative from UST was not able to attend the forum as the Tigers held practice on Tuesday morning.