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Learning continues for Racela, Tams

By Anthony Divinagracia Posted Jul 17th 2013

“To tell you honestly di ko pa ganoon kakilala ‘tong team na ito, but today I learned a lot from them,” Racela said.

Far Eastern University (FEU) continues to learn new things from Nash Racela.

And the feeling is mutual.

Racela on Saturday discovered something new about the Tamaraws, who clawed back from a 13-point hole in regulation to steal an 83-79 overtime victory from De La Salle University and remain the only unbeaten team so far.

“To tell you honestly di ko pa ganoon kakilala ‘tong team na ito, but today I learned a lot from them,” Racela confessed before media men after the Tamaraws matched their 4-0 start last season.

The Tamaraws looked good as dead in the final 2:30 of regulation until Terrence Romeo, RR Garcia, and Mark Belo fueled a blistering 15-2 run to erase a 60-73 deficit and force the extra period.

“It says a lot about the character of this team. Previously they always say FEU leads going to the endgame tapos lagi silang nagpa-falter sa huli. At least basing on this game baliktad yung nangyari.”

In overtime, the Tamaraws held La Salle to just a field goal and put Jeron Teng on the line, where he struggled big time, missing four crucial freethrows in the final minute as FEU completed its mighty comeback.

“It was total team effort. Lahat ng binunot ko nag-deliver,” Racela said, who praised Belo, Roger Pogoy, Carl Cruz, and Christian Sentcheu aside from Romeo and Garcia.

Belo had a breakout game, scoring 10 points and hauling a career-high 13 rebounds. Pogoy chipped in nine markers but grabbed six crucial offensive boards.

Cruz and Sentcheu hardly figured in the stat sheet but held their ground against La Salle bigger frontline.

“(Carl) Cruz was sacrificing his body against the big guys, while Sentcheu did a great job against (Arnold) Van Opstal in overtime,” Racela recalled.

No doubt, FEU has a proven offensive arsenal. But Racela believes their looming “D” will be a far greater weapon in future hardcourt battles.

“Defense is really our key. If we make stops we get extra possessions and we we’ll able to run. I think nasagot yung tanong ko kung kaya ba naming dumepensa. La Salle is one of the tallest teams this year. If you were able to defend that way against them, magandang senyales yun .”

Despite a 4-0 card, Racela sees neither statistical nor psychological advantage for the league-leading Tamaraws.

“I think at this point we only have to control our mind. Once you start thinking of your record, regardless if it’s a good or bad record, and the people around you that’s the start of your downfall. We’ll just look forward to the next game against NU (National University).”