UAAP: Talk with Olsen Racela fuels Xyrus Torres’ breakout game in latest FEU win
MANILA, Philippines — Drawing much-needed motivation from his coach, Xyrus Torres came out of his shell for Far Eastern University at the start of the second round of the UAAP Season 85 men’s basketball tournament.
The third-year winger shot the lights out with six triples to finish with a game-high 22 points and had five steals in leading FEU’s 75-68 comeback victory over University of the East for their third straight win on Sunday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
When the Tamaraws opened the season with five consecutive losses for their worst start in the Final Four era, Torres admitted he felt too much pressure to overcome his struggles in the first round, where he averaged 9.29 points on 26.23% three-point shooting 2.57 rebounds and 0.71 steals
His underwhelming performance led to a talk with FEU coach Olsen Racela.
“I really struggled in the first round and it came to a point that coach Olsen talked to me one-on-one and asked me What happened? I told him, ‘Coach, I am pressured,’” said Torres in Filipino.
“And then, he told me that I shouldn’t be pressured because they need me to deliver not only on offense but also on the defensive end. He still trusted me, especially my teammates. To be fair with them, even I was in that situation, they kept on giving me confidence in practice,” he added.
The conversation with Racela was all Torres needed as he unleashed his breakout game, repaying his coach’s and teammates’ trust in him.
“I always tell Xyrus, you are more than just a shooter. His value on our team is not just his shooting but also his defense. He shouldn’t doubt himself with the playing time he’s getting because he was really consistent with his defense, as you saw earlier,” said the former PBA star in Filipino. “The only difference in today’s game was his shots went in. And he deserves his minutes. I trust he’ll get his shooting back.”
Torres is relieved to finally find his groove and help FEU’s rise.
Torres, however, is far from satisfied as the Tamaraws aim to continue their resurgence and bolster their Final Four bid.
“We’re happy with our bounce-back win (over UE) but we’re not contented with our start. That’s the problem of our team, we should give our 100 percent as early as the first quarter. We still have a lot of game, we need to make adjustments to avoid this kind of situation,” he said.
FEU shoots for a fourth straight victory against La Salle (3-4) on Wednesday at Mall of Asia Arena.