Far Eastern University

Far Eastern University Tamaraws

Tamaraws head coach Nash Racela reveals that his crew's eyes are set on returning to the Finals after a heartbreaking Game Two last year. Will it be enough motivation for FEU? | Philstar.com/Izzy Toledo


UAAP Season 78 Preview: FEU Tamaraws

Coach: Nash Racela, who is in his third year at the helm of FEU.

Season 77 record: 13-7 including Finals

Losses: Carl Cruz, Jason David, Jesson Delfinado, Vince Denila, Anthony Hargrove, Joel Lee Yu, and Reeve Ugsang.

Holdovers: Mark Belo, Ron Dennison, Russel Escoto, Richard Escoto, Achi IƱigo, Roger Pogoy, Francis Tamsi and Mike Tolomia.

Newcomers: Monbert Arong, Wendell Comboy, Kevin Ebona, Ken Holmqvist, Steve Holmqvist, Prince Orizu and Joe Allen Trinidad.

Team breakdown

The Tamaraws are better this year. But I believe if they want to go far, they will need Prince Orizu to really play long minutes and contribute significantly. During the summer, he looked lost and was sometimes inconsequential. The time away after the summer tourneys has, however, given him more time to adjust. Just how crucial is he?

Well, let's put it this way. If Anthony Hargrove did not pull a disappearing act in last year's Finals, the Tams could be entering Season 78 as defending champs. They need Orizu to battle NU's Alfred Aroga inside.

But the onus isn't only on Orizu. There's Russel Escoto, who had a miserable return last season. Outside the amazing Mac Belo, it is Raymar Jose who has become a crucial piece to their frontline puzzle. Jose has improved by leaps and bounds, but he is rather undersized to be battling the likes of Karim Abdul and Aroga, hence, Orizu's importance.

Monbert Arong will finally play after serving his residency following a transfer from Southwestern University. Small but built like a linebacker, he's another scorer, a fearless one too.

They'll have two of arguably the best at their position in the league right now with Mike Tolomia and Mac Belo. It's a last hurrah for these two and they are on a mission. Along with Escoto and Ron Dennison, they've been to two finals and have come up empty-handed each time. You bet they're driven.

Roger Pogoy could be their x-factor. He is their utility man who does a little bit of everything from scoring from everywhere to guarding the opposing team's tough scorer. I love what he brought to the table during the summer.

Francis Tamsi didn't have a very good second year with the Tams unlike his debut in Season 76. If he can approximate what he showed that season and more, he'll be a valuable reserve player for Racela.

The Tamaraws are a strong favorite to compete for the title. The question though is, who is the Aroga stopper here?

Lineups Far Eastern University

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