UAAP: Losses to NU helped mold FEU into a Final 4 team

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 27 2019 05:48 PM | Updated as of Oct 28 2019 09:10 AM

UAAP: Losses to NU helped mold FEU into a Final 4 team 1
The FEU Tamaraws are through to the Final 4. UAAP

MANILA, Philippines -- Far Eastern University (FEU) has accomplished one of its goals in UAAP Season 82, after it clinched a Final 4 spot with a massive 82-58 victory over University of the East (UE).

It was a tremendous achievement for the Tamaraws, who had flown under the radar during the preseason and looked shaky at the start of the men's basketball tournament. It did not help that they are the only team to have lost to National University (NU) so far this year.

The Bulldogs are at the bottom of the league standings, and their two wins both came at FEU's expense.

"We had some off games, people doubting us, people talking down to us, didn't expect us to be here," said FEU captain Ken Tuffin. "But …we just controlled what we can control, and we came out, and we're here now."

Those two defeats to NU were costly. Had they won those games, the Tamaraws would have been in line for the second seed. Instead, the Bulldogs crushed them in the first round, 61-39, then held them off in overtime in the second round, 85-79.

The Tamaraws acknowledge that they lost an opportunity with those two defeats, but they do not regret those results entirely.

"Feeling ko, blessing in disguise pa 'yun eh," said Ino Comboy, who had a team-high 17 points in their win over UE. "Dahil doon, na-mold kami how to play better, especially defense."

"Kung iisipin mo, kung 'di kami natalo sa NU, baka natalo naman kami sa mga mabibigat na teams," he added. "So para sa amin, isang magandang opportunity na 'yun na binigay ni Lord."

Like Comboy, Tuffin also saw the beauty in their struggle. Losing to NU had been the wake-up call they needed, and since their defeat to the Bulldogs in the second round, they won four of their next five games.

Their only other loss of the second round came against Ateneo de Manila University, but not before the Tamaraws gave the defending champions their toughest challenge of the season to date.

"There's beauty in that," said Tuffin. "We needed to go through that in order to be the team we are now. If it wasn't for those losses, who knows, we might not be here right now. We might have been complacent."

"Sayang talaga," he added. "But you know, we had to go through that in order to get here. We took the long road, but we're here now."

The Tamaraws are assured of at least the third seed in the Final 4. They can still force a playoff for the No. 2 seed as well, should De La Salle University emerge victorious over University of the Philippines.

"It would be nice if they (La Salle) won, right?" said Tuffin. "But as we say, we can only control what we can control."

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