Posted Oct 18th 2014
Tamaraws eye to seal 20th UAAP championship
By Josiah Albelda Posted Oct 8th 2014
On the verge of sealing a 20th championship for Far Eastern University, coach Nash Racela insists that his wards should not look beyond Game 2.
And after National University gave the Tamaraws all it can handle in the series opener, Racela has good reason to force the FEU cagers to keep their focus in what is tipped to be a gripping battle.
The Tamaraws and the Bulldogs clash Wednesday in the second game of the 77th UAAP men’s basketball championship, with more than 20,000 expected to flock to the Araneta Coliseum on a day when both schools suspended afternoon classes.
Racela knows that Game 2 will be a lot harder to win, with opposing coach Eric Altamirano tipped to reveal the aces up his sleeve to save NU’s title campaign.
“For sure, maraming adjustments si coach (Eric),” Racela said after FEU escaped a late Bulldogs’ comeback to draw first blood. “We’ll treat the next game as our do or die.”
Since 1994, 15 out the 20 teams that nabbed Game 1 of a best-of-three UAAP finals have gone on to win the championship and Racela is leaving no stone unturned in the hopes of giving the Tamaraws their first title in almost a decade.
“We told the players na in the series, the most important game is the first,” Racela said, adding that he kept the Morayta five fresh for Game 2 by limiting intense practice over the past few days.
Forward Mac Belo is bound for a big game after being held by the Bulldogs’ ferocious defense to 3/13 shooting in Game 1 while Racela hopes that star guard Mike Tolomia and regulars Achie Inigo, RR Pogoy, Raymar Jose and Anthony Hargrove deliver anew.
Altamirano says emotions probably got into NU’s heads in Game 1, as it was the first time in 44 years that a Bulldogs crew headed into the Last Dance.
“Our free throws did us in, mental fatigue,” he admitted. “Masyadong emotional yung mga bata.”
Nevertheless, the multi-titled coach believes the battle isn’t over yet, and that NU will come out with guns blazing in their 4:00pm clash.
“We’ve lost the battle, but not the war,” he said. “Ang team na ito, hindi bibigay.” The game will air live on ABS-CBN Sports+Action 23, BALLS HD SkyCable 167, uaapsports.tv, iwantv.com.ph, TFC Bro, tfc.tv and DZMM 630 AM with a same day replay at 10:30 p.m. on BALLS SkyCable channel 34/ Destiny Cable channel 36.