MARK Isip can’t help but see similarities between today’s Far Eastern University team and the last batch of Tamaraws to win the UAAP men’s title of which he was a part of.
So much so that he believes Mac Belo, Mike Tolomia, and the rest of the Tamaraws are bound to win this year’s championship.
“We are bound for a championship. Dapat mabalik na sa Morayta ang championship,” said Isip, who intends to watch the deciding Game Three of the Finals between the Tamaraws and the National University Bulldogs on Wednesday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Isip played a huge part in FEU’s last title run in 2005 when the Morayta-based school swept De La Salle in the best-of-three title series.
Now with GlobalPort, the lanky forward converted the go-ahead three-point play in the crucial moments of Game Two, which the Tamaraws won, 73-71, en route to the championship.
Memories of that Game Two victory came flashing back on Isip’s mind after Belo hit the game-winning three-pointer in the Tamaraws’ do-or-die game against deposed champion De La Salle during the Final Four.
Incidentally, both Isip and Belo wore the same jersey number at FEU.
“Nine years ago, last time na nandoon ako sa sitwayson na ‘yun, number 12 din ako, game-winner din nung 2005,” said Isip, recalling his own cherished moment in the UAAP.
Same as that 2005 unit, Isip said this year’s team has all the makings of a champion not only owing to the personnel but also with the system the Tamaraws are employing.
“Guard-oriented kasi sila ngayon. Nag-e-excel talaga sila Tolomia pati si Belo sa dribble drive na set nila. During our time kasi, ang focus ng opensa namin is sa big man with Arwind (Santos) and me, parang doon mina-maximize ‘yung opensa namin,” said Isip.
After a nine-year wait, there’s no doubt in Isip’s mind his alma mater is bound to celebrate another championship.