With two games remaining in the eliminations round of UAAP Season 82 Men’s Basketball Tournament, the Far Eastern University Tamaraws solidified its hold of the fourth and final playoff spot after making minced meat of the De La Salle Green Archers, 81-60, over the weekend.
“We needed this win badly,” FEU head coach Olsen Racela told reporters after the match. “ I just got hold of the stats and I was impressed with our offense today, our shooting. But I am more happy with the way we defended, holding them down to 60. I think 32 percent from the field. I am more satisfied with how we defended today more than our offense.”
Now holding a 6-6 slate, FEU is closing in on the current third seed UST Growling Tigers and second-ranked UP Fighting Maroons. But the team is also not out of the woods yet, as DLSU and Adamson Soaring Falcons are still within striking distance to claim their spot.
Although thrilled with the big win, Racela is imploring his guys to not rest on their laurels just yet and stay locked-in to finish their eliminations campaign.
“Right now, we cannot celebrate. No reason to celebrate. We’re happy with our win today but we have two more games left. Kung napansin niyo dikit dikit yung lahat from 2 to 6, di ba? Every win is very important. I told them kailangan ganun ang pag iisip namin going into our last three games. Naka isa na kami then we’re hoping for the same mentality for the next two games,” he said.
“Our mentality really was to treat this game as do-or-die game. We have three games left. All of those games are actually do-or-die if we want to make it to the Final Four. Kaya ang aming sense of urgency. We played possession by possession. Not really worrying about how well we did or how bad we did the previous play but worry. on the next possession. And I think they really followed that mentality today kaya we came victorious,” he added.
The Tamaraws will spring back to action this Wednesday, October 23, against an Adamson side who is also looking to make a final push for a playoff slot.
“Parepareho kasi kami ng sitwasyon ngayon eh. Actually di ko pa nga iniisip yung Adamson. The thing about this season is I mentioned before in other interviews, there’s no time to celebrate, there’s no time to feel sorry for a loss, kasi pagkatapos ng laro, papagisipan mo na yung next game. Right now, di ko pa alam actually gagawin ko sa Adamson,” Racela admitted.
“We’re gonna prepare hard against them. That’s a well-coached team. They run their system very well. Mahihirapan kami just like our other games. Basta lang hindi bibigay tong mga players and follow our gameplan, I think we will be okay.”