UAAP: Racela still proud of FEU's effort in 'inconsistent' campaign

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 02 2022 06:23 AM

FEU Tamaraws head coach Olsen Racela during their match against the De La Salle Green Archers in the UAAP Season 85 men’s basketball tournament held at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City on October 15, 2022. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News
FEU Tamaraws head coach Olsen Racela during their match against the De La Salle Green Archers in the UAAP Season 85 men’s basketball tournament held at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City on October 15, 2022. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA, Philippines -- The Far Eastern University (FEU) Tamaraws paid for their inconsistencies in UAAP Season 85, where they wound up missing the Final 4.

The Tamaraws had made eight consecutive postseason appearances heading into the Season 85 tournament, but they ultimately could not recover from a brutal 0-5 start to the tournament. 

"A season of inconsistencies," FEU head coach Olsen Racela said of his squad's performance. "May times na mag-start kami na okay tapos may times na bad start. May times na we finish strong, may times na we do not finish strong."

"Really a season of inconsistencies para sa amin," he lamented. 

FEU was rocked by the departure of prolific guard RJ Abarrientos in the offseason, as he opted to turn professional and sign with the Ulsan Hyundai Mobis Phoebus in the Korean Basketball League (KBL).

Although they still had a solid line-up for Season 85, Racela admits that they do not have the firepower to match other UAAP teams. FEU ranked seventh in scoring this season, with just 65.93 points per game.

"If you take a look at our line-up this year, kulang pa rin compared to the other teams which is partly why I think we did not make the Final 4 this year," Racela explained. "We need to get more talent, recruit some more players." 

"College basketball is all about recruitment eh. We lost two players from last season. All the other teams improved by adding players," he added. "Kami walang nadagdag, nabawasan pa. That’s college basketball for you."

Though they failed to extend their Final 4 streak, Racela said he cannot find fault in the effort of his players this season. The Tamaraws refused to be cowed by their poor start, and unleashed a four-game winning streak midway through the tournament that kept them in the hunt.

But an ensuing four-game slide ended their Final 4 hopes before they finished the season on a good note by beating University of Santo Tomas in their last game.

"Ang 'di mo matatawaran sa kanila, the effort they put in every game and every fightback," Racela noted. "Ang problema sometimes nababaon kami ng masyadong malalim."

"We'll learn from this and ang coaches and management will take a look and evaluate everything, what went wrong," he added.

Only Ximone Sandagon will leave the Tamaraws at the end of Season 85, and Racela is hopeful that they can augment their roster through their recruitment efforts before Season 86.

"I have to talk to my coaching staff and the management, evaluate the past season, and how we can prepare for the next season. Sa ngayon, honestly, 'di ko pa iniisip 'yung Season 86," Racela said after their final game against UST. 

"But definitely of course, pagpaplanuhan namin yan. Like I said earlier, recruitment is our priority."

UAAP Season 85 is streaming on iWantTFC every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, available for Premium users outside the Philippines.

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