FAR Eastern University coach Nash Racela is very confident the Tamaraws can bounce back and claim the title, noting the second game of the title series was very close despite the scoring surge by UST’s Kevin Ferrer.
The title decider is set on Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Racela pointed out the Tamaraws shot just 27 percent from the field and yet they only lost by six points in Game Two at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Kevin Ferrer shot the lights out in the third quarter, scoring 24 of his 29 points, to help lift the Tigers to victory.
“We lost by six points. The game was close and we had a chance in the endgame despite the explosion by the co-MVP,” said Racela.
The FEU coach is not the first to call Ferrer an MVP as Kiefer Ravena, who won the actual title, said the UST main man also deserved the award.
Racela, however, rued the missed shots FEU committed. With UST drawing more fouls (28-26), FEU shot only 20-of-35 from the free throw line even as UST also struggled from the stripe, going 16 for 27.
“We missed 15 free throws and we shot 27 percent from the field. If we correct a few of those things, I think we will have a better chance on Wednesday,” said Racela.
The FEU head coach is counting on his veteran crew to bounce back from the shooting slump.
“These are veterans and I’m sure they’ll come back stronger the next time,” he added.
Racela said he was also surprised with a lot of “non-calls” in Game Two.
“There were a lot of non-calls on our players. Mahirap pero ganun talaga. You just have to be better than those non-calls,” said Racela.
“Surprisingly, actually today that the two referees that officiated in our second round game were the same referees today. That’s something that I think we have to look at because more fouls, more free throws again,” said Racela.
“We told the commissioner that if you look at the stats, FEU is No. 1 in terms of least fouls committed. We average 19 and that’s a league best. Surprisingly, in round two against UST, we gave up 34 free throws and 28 fouls. Today, same refs, and we gave up a lot,” said Racela.
“Again, we got free throws and missed. There’s no other to blame but ourselves,” he added.