LookBack: Almost but not quite for FEU
MANILA, Philippines -- It was a story of a poor start and a poor finish for Far Eastern University, who began the tournament with high hopes but ended their campaign with hearts broken.
The Lady Tamaraws pushed fancied Ateneo de Manila University to five sets to start Season 75 on a positive note, but the wards of then-coach Nes Pamilar could only beat University of the Philippines in their next three games to screech to a 1-3 record.
Then the unexpected happened.
Pamilar was replaced with veteran coach Kid Santos after their straight-sets loss to Adamson University, compounding rumors that players didn't want to play for Pamilar anymore, as evidenced by uninspired performances against La Salle and the Lady Falcons.
A loss to National University soon followed before the Lady Tamaraws began stringing up win after win, skyrocketing back into the thick of things with a five-game winning streak that gave them a 6-4 record.
But the fairytale ended soon after, as FEU crashed back to earth with four straight losses that doomed their Final Four hopes.
Best: Their mid-tournament surge. The Lady Tamaraws were arguably one of the best teams in the UAAP midway through the season. FEU racked up an impressive run of victories that centered on Wenneth Eulalio's consistent play and Toni Basas' rise to prominence.
It is during this streak that Season 74 awardees setter Gyzel Sy and libero Tin Agno picked their games up, eventually putting up brilliant numbers that pulled them oh-so-close to back-to-back Best Setter and Best Digger plums.
Worst: The lack of fire to come back when down. Push FEU down early and more often than not, they would just roll over and die. Save for their stirring comeback in the season opener, the Lady Tamaraws couldn't deal well with their opponents' strong starts, resulting to blowout losses to La Salle (twice), NU (twice) and Adamson (once).
If they are hell-bent on roaring back in Season 76, FEU should develop that sense of urgency, the desire to fight back when beaten in opening sets and that fire to overcome obstacles to win games.
Joy to watch: Lady Tamaraws freshman Mary Remy Joy Palma was a joy to watch in her first season in the UAAP. With a solid built and the knack to find the right spots, Palma looks to have a long career ahead of her.
The Apalit, Pampanga native was fourth in the team in scoring, norming 6.9 points per game and almost topping FEU in blocks with a total of 18 for the season. And in our book, Palma will definitely give NU attacker Aiko Urdas a good fight in the Rookie of the Year race. - Rappler.com