Coach Olsen after FEU makes UAAP 82 semis: 'Who would've thought?'

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Oct 27, 2019 05:15 PM
Coach Olsen after FEU makes semis: 'Who would've thought?'
(Photo by Arvin Lim)

ANTIPOLO - Far Eastern University punched its ticket to the semifinals of the UAAP 82 Men's Basketball Tournament after taking care of business against University of the East, Sunday at Ynares Center here.

Not only that, the lowest seed the Tamaraws could have for the next round is at no. 3.

Post-game, head coach Olsen Racela could only express gratitude at all those who believed in them - and in his eyes, there weren't that many. "Who would've thought? 'Di ba, na us making it to the Final Four," he told reporters.

He then continued, "Walang naniwala sa amin except yung mga nandun sa loob ng circle namin and, of course, yung FEU community."

Indeed, not many spotlights were shone on the green and gold in the preseason as most of the headlines were grabbed by two-time defending champion Ateneo de Manila University, championship-or-bust University of the Philippines, rejuvenated University of Sto. Tomas, and even resurgent University of the East.

Now, however, FEU is the only other team aside from the Blue Eagles assured of playing in the next round as all of UP, UST, and De La Salle University are still fighting over the last two playoff berths.

"Masaya. We're happy about this," team captain Ken Tuffin said. "We had some off games and then people doubting us, talking down on us. They didn't expect us to be here, but we just controlled what we can control and here we are."

Better yet, the Tamaraws aren't done yet and are ready and raring to keep taking down the more heralded teams. "We always talk about David and Goliath and we always talk about how we should always play as Davids," Tuffin shared.

He then continued, "We have that chip on our shoulder no matter who we go up against. We have that chip on our shoulder and stay motivated."

And for the Morayta-based squad, it still doesn't matter if they are finally getting talked about now they're in the semifinals. "The last couple of years, we've been under the radar and lalo na this year with all the rookies we have. We have a lot of good seniors, but compared to the superstar teams, FEU isn't really being talked about," their skipper said.

He then continued, "We don't mind that. We're always just gonna take care of business and try to go further this year."

In that light, FEU is not setting its sights on the next round and whatever may come after it. As coach Olsen put it, "We're not done yet. Our goal every year is really to make it to the Final Four then we move on to the next goal."

He also added, "We've achieved our first goal then next goal na kami."

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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