FAR EASTERN University may have been relieved of the pressure of maintaining a perfect season, but the Tamaraws aim to stay on top in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament.
Although coach Nash Racela took their first loss “with open arms,” the Tamaraws hope to rebound quickly versus La Salle in their 4 p.m. match today at Mall of Asia Arena.
National University, which ended FEU’s winning run early in the week, tries to follow up on the huge upset in the 2 p.m. first game against Adamson.
“I welcome the loss with open arms because I know it will make us a better team,” said Racela. “It will make us stronger, especially down the stretch.”
The Tamaraws still kept the solo lead with a 7-1 record, while the Bulldogs claimed a share of second with University of the East at 5-3.
“I told the players that from this point on, everything will be doubly hard,” said Racela. “We’re coming off a loss and La Salle, which is coming off a win, wants to win every game to make it to the Final Four.”
The Bulldogs snapped the Tamaraws’ seven-game winning streak by the slimmest of margins, 59-58, behind the endgame heroics of NU star Ray Parks.
Racela, though, took the positives out of the loss where top MVP contender Terrence Romeo struggled with a a season-low of eight points on a miserable 3-of-16 shooting.
“We had a lot of mistakes but the game was still close,” said Racela. “Despite those mistakes, we had a chance to win it.”