AS their season ended in disappointment, Far Eastern University coach Bert Flores is left to ponder his future as head coach of the team, hinting at the possibility he won’t be returning next year.
“Bahala na ang management,” said Flores, whose team stayed at the top half of the standings for most of the tournament only to sputter and bow out with three successive losses.
“Win or lose, walang problema. [Pero] maganda sanang exit kung mag-champion,” said Flores, who coached the 2005 champion team led by Arwind Santos before being relegated to assistant coach when Glenn Capacio was hired in 2007. He was reappointed head coach for the season when Capacio took a coaching job in the regional pro league ABL.
“Anytime, andyan lang naman ako sa FEU.”
The Tamaraws ended their season with losses in their final three games to miss out on the Final Four for the first time in five years. They got as far as the finals in 2010 and 2011.
“Galing kami sa finals, pangarap namin mag-champion… Pero hindi talaga para sa amin,” said a gloomy Flores.
For the first time since 2007, there will be no FEU in the Final Four despite a 9-5 win-loss record.
“Forget Four kami,” said Flores.
The Tamaraws could not keep their 10-point lead intact in the fourth quarter of the playoff for the No. 4 spot against De La Salle on Wednesday, losing to the Green Archers, 69-66.
The Green Archers launched a scorching 14-0 run that the Tamaraws could not stop. By the time FEU called a timeout, it was too late as De La Salle was already up, 64-60.
Flores said the Tamaraws failed to execute in the end, resorting to one-on-one plays that led to their downfall.
“Kulang kami sa execution. Kanya-kanya na, wala nang ball-sharing,” said Flores.
FEU’s season went spiraling down as controversy struck the team ahead of important games.
Enforcer Arvie Bringas was suspended for the final two games of the eliminations while assistant coach Ronald Magtulis was also slapped with a one-game suspension for a verbal tussle with the father of Ateneo's Nico Salva.
But the turning point, Flores said, was the loss it suffered at the hands of National University in a board-mandated replay of a game the Tamaraws had initially won last September 2.
The Bulldogs won the rematch and sent the Tamaraws into a playoff for the last semifinal berth.
“’Yun ang turning point, ’yung replay. Tapos ’yung two games na kailangan na kailangan naming mapanalo, natalo kami,” said Flores.