Racela brothers winless vs Ayo-mentored teams
MANILA, Philippines – For three straight seasons, the Far Eastern University (FEU) Tamaraws lorded over the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Growling Tigers in the UAAP men's basketball tournament.
But on Wednesday, September 12, the veteran-laden Tamaraws surprisingly bowed to the gritty Tigers, the cellar-dwellers in the last two seasons hoping for a fresh start under new coach Aldin Ayo.
By snapping the skid, Ayo had another one up not just on FEU coach Olsen Racela, but also on his brother Nash, who mentored the Tamaraws the previous seasons.
Both Racela brothers haven't won a game against Ayo, who also steered La Salle to a championship in 2016 and a runner-up finish last year.
"Alam ko naman na all Aldin Ayo-coached team worked hard. For them it’s about putting in effort," said Olsen, who together with brother Nash, own a 0-5 losing record against Ayo.
But head-to-head coaching records hardly matter for the Tamaraws, who are now more concerned on playing at a consistent level.
Before losing to UST, a poised FEU side snapped its own losing skid against the La Salle Green Archers.
"Bumalik sa amin yung ginawa namin sa La Salle. Yung sa La Salle, di pa kami nananalo the past [three] years so nangyari naman sa amin," said Racela.
"Well that’s the UAAP for you, kaya kailangan every game, you just have to be ready, kung hindi, ganito rin."
(What happened to us what we just did to La Salle. We haven't won against La Salle in the past three years but we won against them last Sunday. Well that's the UAAP for you, that's why you just have to be ready every game or else you'll end up losing.)
UST last won against the FEU in Game 2 of the 2015 best-of-three finals series where Kevin Ferrer led the Tigers to force a do-or-die match. But the Tamaraws recovered in a Game 3 classic that saw the FEU team – then mentored by Nash – end a 10-year UAAP title drought.
For now, the Tamaraws are gearing up for another big battle against defending champion Ateneo, the squad that has denied them of a finals berth in the last two seasons.
The Ateneo Blue Eagles and FEU Tamaraws will clash on Saturday, September 15, 2 pm, at the Araneta Coliseum. – Rappler.com
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