Defending champion FEU has no problem entering season as underdogs

Paul Lintag on Sep 02, 2016 07:52 PM
Champion FEU has no problem entering season as underdogs
DEFENSE. FEU is ready for a season that will test their mettle as an elite basketball program.

HOW’D THEY DO LAST SEASON? 11-3 (champions)

YES, THEY’RE STILL HERE: Monbert Arong, Raymar Jose, Prince Orizu

WELCOME TO THE FAMILY: Ken Tuffin

GOOD LUCK ON FUTURE ENDEAVORS: Mac Belo, Russel Esocoto, RR Pogoy, Mike Tolomia

Last year, almost everybody and their mothers crowned Far Eastern University as UAAP champions even before Season 78 started.

This year, almost everybody and their mothers already doubt the Tamaraws even before Season 79 kicks off.

Granted, the Tamaraws lost almost their entire title-winning core, but it looks like the defending champions are simply not getting the respect they deserve.

The Tamaraws don't mind at all though.

"I think ang pressure right now is on La Salle," head coach Nash Racela said. "Sa amin, the pressure of getting back-to-back championships is not really there."

"We don't talk about it din sa FEU," he added.

While their big name acquisitions don't play until a year later, FEU is banking on continuity to make an under-the-radar run for the UAAP title in Season 79. "Ever since naman we've been preaching teamwork and sharing the basketball. It’s something that yung mga veterans namin that we lost, they've learned over the years," Racela said.

"Now the younger players that we have, we're also hoping na ma-embrace nila yun," he added.

Since winning the school's 20th UAAP title, Racela admitted that FEU looked lost in its initial preparations towards Season 79.

What the Tamaraws learned over the last three months, however, is that when you win 20 championships, you kinda develop a long-term team character. "I think yung identity naman ng FEU has always been the same. Lumalaban, never give up, run and gun, and then team ball. I think those are the things na over the years consistent kami," Racela said.

"The objective right now is to improve and try to get as many wins as we can. Hopefully that could bring us someplace," he added.

Season 78 served as a validation of FEU's status as the team that had been on a whole other level compared to the rest of the field.

Season 79 will likely serve as the year the Tamaraws prove everybody wrong – as weird as that sounds.

After all, until further notice, Far Eastern University is the reigning and defending UAAP champion.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.

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