UST, FEU kick off UAAP title duel | Inquirer Sports

UST, FEU kick off UAAP title duel

By: - Reporter / @jwpayoINQ
/ 02:53 AM November 25, 2015
Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

As the two teams that came close to winning it all in the last two seasons, University of Santo Tomas and Far Eastern University aim to work on a better ending now that they’re back in the UAAP men’s basketball Finals series.

Both the Tigers and the Tamaraws think their players’ maturity and experience will come into play in a gruelling showdown pitting virtually even-matched players all keen on forgetting past years’ heartbreaks.

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“Our players now have the instinct and pride to go all out,” said UST coach Bong dela Cruz. Game 1 of the best-of-three series tips off at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday at Mall of Asia Arena.

The Tigers last reached the Finals in 2013 where they settled for a runner-up finish to La Salle.

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A year later, the Tamaraws also fell short in the Finals against National University.

Both title series reached the full distance.

UST stars Kevin Ferrer, Karim Abdul and Ed Daquioag vowed that there will be no more painful endings for the No. 1 Tigers.

“The way the family is playing, it’s going to be different,” Abdul said of the Tigers, who have been describing themselves as family, as reference to their tight-knit team.

FEU coach Nash Racela also said his Tamaraws need to bank on teamwork even with the terrific tandem of Mac Belo and Mike Tolomia at the helm.

“I know my players, they really spend time preparing every game,” said Racela. “They now understand what we want and what we expect from them.”
Although the second-seeded Tamaraws got a huge confidence boost after bundling out Ateneo on a Belo buzzer-beater, 76-74, in the semifinals, Racela said his team’s performance doesn’t hinge on the euphoria of their last game.

“Our players are trained to forget what’s behind them,” said Racela. “We’re always pushing forward.” “We don’t want to be too high after that big win,” added FEU team manager Richie Ticzon. “We enjoyed the win, but the players realize the work is not done.”

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The Tigers, who dethroned the Bulldogs in the Final Four, also don’t see any advantage even if they swept the Tamaraws in the eliminations.
“It’s the championship and it’s a different ball game,” said Dela Cruz.

The Tigers barely escaped the Tamaraws in the first round, 72-71, but pulled off a more convincing 85-76 triumph in their second meeting.

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TAGS: Basketball, bong dela cruz, Ed Daquioag, FEU Tamaraws, Finals, Game 1, Karim Abdul, Kevin Ferrer, Mac Belo, Mike Tolomia, Nash Racela, UAAP, uaap season 78, UST Growling Tigers
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