Far Eastern University has long been a basketball hotbed of talents.
The Morayta-based Tamaraws produced an impressive line of terrific cagers over the years, with an influx of players making it straight to the pros.
Even professional coaches seem to share quite an affinity for FEU’s basketball program –evidenced by the number of national team players who previously donned the green and gold.
In anticipation for the upcoming University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) men’s basketball Season 81, Fox Sports PH lists down FEU Men’s Basketball’s All-time Starting Five from the post-2000s era.
5. Center: Prince Orizu
Although stacked at almost every position, FEU hasn’t quite had a consistent dominating force inside the paint.
Prince Orizu’s raw numbers won’t wow most fans, but his hard work on the interior and overall inside presence has been a valuable asset for FEU for the last three seasons. He posted solid stats of 8.6 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game last season, to go along with 7.7 markers.
The 6’9 Cameroonian reinforcement will play his final year in FEU in the upcoming UAAP Season 81.
Honorable Mentions: Raymar Jose, Anthony Hargrove
Read more about Orizu here: Past UAAP champs FEU and NU clash, dispute solo second spot
4. Power Forward: Mac Belo
FEU produced quite the number of PBA-ready stretch forwards over the years, endearing teams with their ability to bang inside and hit the long ball.
But Mac Belo appears to be the cream-of-the-crop, leading the Tamaraws to the championship in Season 78 and was even named Finals MVP the same year.
Emerging as a star in the making in Season 77, the Cotabato native stepped up big time and filled the void on offense left by RR Garcia and Terrence Romeo.
Belo is best remembered for his heroic buzzer beating three-pointer against the De La Salle Green Archers in Season 77 to send FEU to the Finals, and another clutch basket against the Blue Eagles the following year.
Honorable Mentions: Mark Isip, Aldrech Ramos, Russel Escoto, Reil Cervantes
3. Small Forward: Arwind Santos
Arwind Santos is best known today as the PBA’s “Spiderman”, but he will always be the “King Tamaraw” in my book.
The Pampanga native was the driving force to FEU’s dominance in the mid 2000s, punctuated by a remarkable three-peat, albeit in a controversial manner.
He put the league on notice early in his career, winning the UAAP Rookie of the Year honors in Season 65 and winning back-to-back MVP plums in Seasons 67 and 68. He was also named Finals MVP twice (Seasons 66 and 67) and a Mythical First Five Member three times (66, 67, 68).
But perhaps his best showing came in Game 1 of the UAAP Season 68 men’s basketball championship against La Salle where he posted 29 points, 14 rebounds, and three blocks.
The lanky forward put FEU on his back in the closing seconds of the game, scoring five straight points including the game-winning tip in.
Santos is also one of only two players to have his jersey retired by his alma mater, sharing the distinction with PBA legend Johnny Abarrientos.
Honorable Mentions: Roger Pogoy, Carl Bryan Cruz, Mac Baracael, JR Cawaling
2. Shooting Guard: Terrence Romeo
Terrence Romeo and Mike Tolomia are the perfect examples of modern-era combo guards, but it was the former who stood out the most for the FEU.
Joining the Seniors squad in Season 73 after his dazzling lone year with the Baby Tamaraws in the Juniors Division, Romeo captivated UAAP fans with his flamboyant play style and penchant for the dramatics.
After struggling at times as a second option in his first two years, Romeo blossomed in Season 75, averaging a team best 18.5 points to go along with 5.5 rebounds. He was named as a Mythical Five Member the same year and bagged the Most Valuable Player award the next season.
Although often chastised for his one-on-one gun-slinging ways at times, only few can rival Romeo’s offensive repertoire especially when he gets going from the field.
Honorable Mentions: Jeff Chan, Mike Tolomia, Ron Dennison, Rj Rizada, Ping Exciminiano
1. Point Guard: R.R. Garcia
Talent wise, it would be a toss up between RR Garcia and Marc Barroca as FEU’s best floor general, but I’m picking the former due to Barroca’s game-fixing controversy.
Heavily recruited to provide a scoring presence for the Tamaraws in Season 72, Garcia proved he was ready for the collegiate ranks, helping FEU win the Fil-Oil Flying V preseason tournament, while bagging the MVP award in the process.
Garcia also won the NCAA Men’s Basketball MVP award in his sophomore year, but FEU failed to win the title after succumbing to Ateneo in two games.
Much like his backcourt mate Romeo, Garcia is also maligned for failing to win a championship in college.
Honorable Mentions: Mark Barocca, Denok Miranda, Jonas Villanueva, Benedict Fernandez