MANILA, Philippines -- Far Eastern University (FEU) can still turn things around in UAAP Season 85, said head coach Olsen Racela after the Tamaraws fell to a second straight defeat on Wednesday afternoon.
FEU suffered a 76-66 upset against University of Santo Tomas (UST) to fall to 0-2 in the men's basketball tournament, following their opening weekend loss to the Ateneo de Manila University.
"No reason to panic," assured Racela, even as FEU has fallen behind against other Final 4 contenders.
The coach did acknowledge that the Tamaraws have to do a better job in taking care of business against teams that are on the same level as them. Racela believes that Ateneo de Manila University, University of the Philippines, and De La Salle University are the favorites for the season.
"But to get to the Final 4, you have to beat the teams you're supposed to beat," he also said. "UE, kahilera namin 'yan."
"'Yung kahilera namin, we have to take care of business. We lost today so dapat makabawi kami, whether getting one from those favored teams or a couple, kung ganun ang kailangan mangyari, ganoon ang gagawin namin," he added.
Crucial for FEU is to improve on the defensive end, the coach said. Against Ateneo on Sunday, they gave up 19 points to Forthsky Padrigao. Against UE, they were torched by Kyle Paranada for 25 points, including crucial baskets in the final four minutes.
"We have to be better defensively. Right now, ang nakikita ko lang sa last two games namin, second half against Ateneo and second half dito, that's when our opponents pulled away. We have to do a good job defending, especially one-on-one in this game," said Racela.
"Our guards have to do a better job taking care of their responsibilities. Bottomline is we have to do better all-around, lalo na defensively," he stressed.
FEU will still have plenty of time to right the ship, although they have a tough assignment this weekend when they play defending champions UP at the Araneta Coliseum.