Far Eastern University coach Nash Racela is confident that the struggles his players encountered late in the elimination round won’t affect their form in Saturday’s UAAP Final Four meeting with Ateneo.
The defending champion Tamaraws endured a three-game skid which ended with a narrow win over the University of the East Red Warriors at the close of the elims, dropping them to third place and the task of having to beat the Blue Eagles twice in their semis duel.
“We’re happy to be in the Final Four regardless of our seeding,” Racela said. “We’re happy with where we are right now, if we based it on games we played against them, we know if we make our adjustments, and if we make sacrifices for our team, we will have a good chance.”
FEU failed to beat Ateneo in their two meetings in the eliminations. The Blue Eagles won 76-71 in the first round, before posting a 74-59 rout of the Tamaraws in the second round.
Racela is pleased that FEU made the Final Four despite entering the year without the core of last season’s title-winning team – namely Mac Belo, Mike Tolomia, Roger Pogoy and Russell Escoto.
Making up for those losses are Raymar Jose, who emerged as the team’s top gun, with plenty of solid contributors for the Tams, particularly backcourt players Monbert Arong (9.4 points), Jojo Trinidad (7.1 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.9 assists), Wendell Comboy (7.2 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.5 assists) and Axel Iñigo (8.3 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.8 assists).