Posted Oct 18th 2014
Managing emotions, key to winning Game 3 – Racela
By Anthony Divinagracia Posted Oct 11th 2014
Outrebounded. Outhustled. Outplayed.
For Far Eastern University (FEU) coach Nash Racela these words summed up the Tamaraws’ listless performance against resurgent National University (NU) in Game 2 of the 77th UAAP men’s basketball finals last Wednesday.
“We got outrebounded by a big margin,” said Racela after the Bulldogs clobbered the Tamaraws, 62-47, to even the series and force a winner-take-all Game 3 next Wednesday.
“I think they have 27 offensive rebounds. That gave them 27 extra possessions.”
As it turned out, NU dominated the rebounding battle, getting 58 boards against only 29 for FEU, which just managed to secure 14 offensive caroms.
Swingman Roger Pogoy emerged as the Tamaraws’ unlikely top rebounder with nine boards while frontliners Anthony Hargrove, Raymar Jose, and Carl Cruz combined for just 15.
Of these 27 offensive boards, the Bulldogs converted 28 inside points against only 14 for the Tamaraws.
“I think there are a lot of 50-50 balls na naunahan kami ng NU,” Racela said, noting the Bulldogs’ 16-6 edge in second-chance points.
NU for the record won 68 percent of the contested possessions to virtually dictate the tempo of the match.
Defensively, the Bulldogs contained FEU’s vaunted firepower well, limiting the Tamaraws to just six points on 2-of-15 shooting in the opening quarter for an 18-6 lead that set the NU attack in motion.
“We missed shots because they forced us to miss shots,” Racela said. “Actually we expected from them coming off a loss, talagang bubuhos sa simula.”
Mike Tolomia backstopped Racela’s observation.
“Buong game nagmamadali na kami kasi first quarter pa lang nakalamang sila agad ng malaki sa amin,” said Tolomia who finished with 15 points on 6-of-19 shooting.
“Yun (defense) talaga strength ng team nila e.”
Racela praised NU big man Troy Rosario’s bounce-back game which helped the Bulldogs keep the Tamaraws at bay.
“He (Rosario) dominated us,” the FEU mentor said of the 6-foot-7 wingman who tallied a game-high 19 points, 14 rebounds, and a block.
Glenn Khobuntin also did well offensively, logging in 17 points and five rebounds. But his biggest plus came on the defensive end as NU’s other x-factor hounded Mac Belo no end.
“I think Khobuntin has really done a very good job against Mac (Belo),” said Racela. “Mac is coming off the bench and at the same time they're playing good defense on him.”
The Tamaraws made their presence felt on defense, blocking eight shots against only NU’s five. But FEU though failed to cover half of those defensive efforts.
“Sometimes when you go for the blocks, pag na-miss mo yung blocks ang nabibigay mo yung rebounding sa kanila,” Racela said.
Limited ball movement also hampered FEU’s offense right from the start, Racela stressed.
“When you look at the stats, we only have eight assists lang kami the whole game so that says a lot kung bakit natalo kami.”
Going the distance
With NU finally beating FEU in an important game this season, Racela expects a more difficult Game 3 ahead, given the Bulldogs’ renewed confidence.
“I think it’s expected to go the distance,” he said. “Maganda lang kasi both teams have equal chances in the final game.”
His wards’ poise and resiliency will be put to the test as well. The coaching staff must also keep its faith to the players.
“When you go to the playoffs you have to give everything you got. Sometimes yung X and Os nandiyan lang yun to guide you and give you some structure,” he said. “As coaches we have to be confident that they'll do their part on the court.”
In the end, Racela thinks the key to winning Game 3 is managing the Tamaraws’ emotions.
“It’s on us kung paano mag-a-adjust. That (managing emotions) is something di namin nagawa medyo magulo kami nung simula,” he said. “We have a few days to do something about it.”