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FEU and NU’s date with destiny

October 7, 2014
Will the Cinderella run of the NU Bulldogs continue in the UAAP Finals, or will the FEU Tamaraws prove to be this season’s destined champs after ousting defending champs DLSU?

For a team known for its barrage of points and high-octane offense, the FEU Tamaraws will need a different approach to start the game if they wants to guarantee a win in Game 2 of the Season 77 UAAP Men’s Basketball Finals.

“We need tougher defense at the start,” FEU coach Nash Racela told BuhayBasket.

The Tams are a win away from the championship after defeating the NU Bulldogs in Game 1 of the Season 77 UAAP Finals on Saturday.

NU started strong, showing they’re no pushover in their first Finals appearance in 40 years, and forced FEU to play catch-up after the opening tip.

FEU trailed by as much as 12 points in the first half, but coach Racela must have said the right things during halftime because by the end of the third quarter, FEU had a 10-point lead.

An unlikely hero in RR Pogoy led the surge in that quarter, scoring 10 of his 14 points.

“NU had a very sound game plan that’s why Belo and Tolomia struggled. Pogoy ended up as the recipient of those passes and he just delivered,” Racela said.

For that third quarter run that saw FEU outscore NU 25-12, Racela downplayed any heroics or major adjustments that were made.

“We just played our game and made the right decisions,” he said.

NU had a chance to tie the game in the dying seconds, but a hurried play resulted to a Glenn Khobuntin 3 that had no chance of going in.

With the title within reach, Racela said that more than making the right decisions, the Tamaraws should keep their focus in Game 2.

“They need to shorten their vision. Play the game one possession at a time,” he said.

The Bulldogs, meanwhile, find themselves in an all-too-familiar situation, playing in their fourth do-or-die game on Wednesday.

To have any chance at extending the series to yet another do-or-die finish, they will have to regain the same poise they showed against top-seeded Ateneo.


(Photo by Czeasar Dancel/NPPA Images)