FAR Eastern University (FEU) head coach Nash Racela said that his team won’t take defending champion De La Salle University lightly despite having a twice to beat advantage in their Final Four encounter on Saturday in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 77 men’s basketball tournament.
The Tamaraws vs. Green Archers match is set at 4 p.m. at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
“I told them that we haven’t achieved anything yet even though we reached the Final Four. We can’t relax against La Salle, the reigning champs,” Racela told The Manila Times in a phone interview on Thursday.
The Tamaraws will be colliding against the solid Green Archers line-up composed of Jeron Teng, Jason Perkins, Arnold Van Opstal and Almond Vosotros, among others.
“We are expecting a tough La Salle squad. So far, I believe that we can go to the finals but we have to beat La Salle. Our last victory has nothing to do now, because we are dealing against a reenergized La Salle squad,” added Racela.
The Tamaraws beat the Green Archers, 65-60, in their playoff game for the No. 2 spot on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena. FEU’s triumph was powered by Mike Tolomia’s 19 points and 6’6 Mac Belo’s 15 points.
“Our preparation now, aside from the usual practice and drills, is more of mental aspect. We must keep our focus on that game. Everybody knows what La Salle can do that’s why we really need to step up defensively and offensively.”
Racela also said that he would not allow La Salle to do what National University did to No. 1 Ateneo De Manila University on Wednesday.
“In fact, Ateneo is the No. 1 team but NU beat them to force a do-or-die game for the finals spot,” said Racela, referring to NU’s 78-74 win over Ateneo.