FAR EASTERN University (FEU) Tamaraws coach Nash Racela said that he is expecting a brutal fight from the National University (NU) Bulldogs in the finals of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 77 men’s basketball tourney at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Game 1 of the best-of-three series is set on Saturday at 3:30 p.m.
A night after reaching the championship round, Racela said that meeting the Bulldogs in the finals wouldn’t be a walk in the park.
“It will be a new challenge since we’re dealing against the hungriest team to win a title,” said Racela. The Tamaraws bagged a finals slot through Mac Belo’s three-point shot that earned them a 67-64 win over reigning champion De La Salle University on Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum.
“They have a good aggressive frontline composed of Alfred Aroga, Troy Rosario and Glenn Khobutin plus a good back court pair of Gelo Alolino and Jay-Jay Alejandro. We have to study them seriously and learn how to make the necessary adjustment in that game.”
The Bulldogs whipped the No. 1 Ateneo De Manila University Blue Eagles, 65-63, also on Wednesday to advance to the finals—their first since 1970 when they finished second to University of the East.
“It’s going to be a war,” added Racela.
Belo, who had 23 points including two triples in crunch time and eight boards, said that he would do everything to win this year’s UAAP title.
“This is what we’re longing for, and now we’re here [finals],” Belo told The Manila Times. “We just have to play harder this time. NU is not an easy opponent. But if we play as a team, there’s a big possibility to win the crown.”
Besides Belo, swingman Mike Tolomia, Roger Pogoy, Archie Iñigo, Carl Cruz and 6’6 American Anthony Hargrove are expected to lead the Tamaraws’ charge against the Bulldogs.