FAR EAST­ERN UNIVER­SITY TA­MA­RAWS

A LOT OF PRES­SURE WAS PLACED ON THE SHOUL­DERS OF THE FAR EAST­ERN UNIVER­SITY MEN’S BAS­KET­BALL TEAM DUR­ING THE PAST TWO SEA­SONS IN THE UAAP. WITH SUCH HIGH EX­PEC­TA­TIONS, THE TA­MA­RAWS CRUM­BLED AND COULD NEVER ACHIEVE THEIR ULTIMATE GOAL OF RE­CAP­TUR­ING THE

Rebound Magazine - - UAAP PREVIEW - by An­ton Roxas

This sea­son, a new ap­proach will be im­ple­mented. Bert Flores, the head coach of the last FEU cham­pion team in 2005, is back at the helm and all he wants for his play­ers is some­thing very sim­ple: “ Ang im­por­tante, happy sila.”

De­spite los­ing sharp­shooter Paul Sanga and Reil Cer­vantes, who de­cided to forego his fi­nal year of el­i­gi­bil­ity in the UAAP to go pro, the Ta­ma­raws still have a very tal­ented and deep lineup.

“ Noong­nag-cham­pi­onkamisa2005, malak­ing ba­gay yung re­bound­ing at blocks. Nakikita ko kay Al­drech (Ramos) ‘yung re­bound­ing ni Ar­wind (Santos). ‘Yung pa­malit na­man kay (Mark) Isip, itong si Pippo (Noundou),” said Flores, when asked if he saw any sim­i­lar­i­ties be­tween his 2005 team and the cur­rent ros­ter.

Ar­wind Santos and Mark Isip were both named to the UAAP Myth­i­cal Five team in UAAP Sea­son 68. Santos was also hailed as the De­fen­sive Player of the Year and Most Valu­able Player. Ramos al­ready has two Myth­i­cal Five se­lec­tions tucked un­der his belt. Noundou doesn’t need to win an award, but his team needs him to be more fe­ro­cious on the boards (only 5.6 RPG last sea­son).

FEU pos­sesses per­haps the most pro­lific back­court in the league with last year’s Rookie of the Year, Ter­rence Romeo and reign­ing Most Valu­able Player, RR Gar­cia. How­ever, Flores says that the player in the start­ing unit that he has to give the most at­ten­tion to is JR Cawal­ing.

“ Si Cawal­ing, kailan­gan ko mag­ing leader.”

Bench

“An­other Ar­wind si Rus­sel Es­coto,” added Flores. At 6’6”, the for­mer FEU-FERN Baby Ta­ma­raw and RP Un­der-18 player has a lot of po­ten­tial. His length can bother all those who at­tack the ring and when their shots mis­fire, Mark Bringas will be ready to cor­ral the loose ball. His brother Arvie could fi­nally make his re­turn to the UAAP since leav­ing DLSU.

An­other in­ter­est­ing new­comer is Chris­tian Sentcheu who hails from Douala, the largest city in Cameroon, Africa. He’s still very raw, but he’s 6’11” - a pro­ject to work on for the fu­ture.

Team Cap­tain Jens Knut­tel and de­fen­sive spe­cial­ist Chris Ex­ci­mini­ano are back along with Carl Cruz, Jo­las Guer­rero and Gryann Men­doza.

Round­ing out the Ta­ma­raw’s bench is their most ex­cit­ing rookie, Chris Tolo­mia, a team­mate of Es­coto’s in FEU-FERN. He spe­cial­izes in at­tack­ing the bas­ket. Ex­pect him to help the vet­er­ans out in the scor­ing depart­ment.

Coach­ing

“ Apat­nataon­akong­nawalasa coach­ing,” ad­mits Flores. So, he used the 2011 Fil-Oil Fly­ing V Pre-sea­son Premier Cup to reac­quaint him­self with the pres­sure mo­ments the game of bas­ket­ball en­tails.

A few no­tice­able changes on both ends of the floor is the em­pha­sis Flores puts on get­ting the ball in the post area on of­fense and em­ploy­ing a full-court press on de­fense. The full-court press of course, is the more sig­nif­i­cant ad­di­tion.

“ Mabibilis kami eh. Sina RR, Romeo, ta­la­gang dumede­pensa’ yang mga‘yan. Nand’yan pa si Tolo­mia,” ex­plains Flores.

The most im­por­tant as­pect of the game though that Coach Flores would like his team to de­velop is this:

“Com­mu­ni­ca­tion. ‘Nung time nina Ar­wind, sina Rizada, isang kin­datan lang kami, OK na eh.‘Yun sana ang gusto kong makuha nila.”

In­tan­gi­bles

FEU was the num­ber one scor­ing team in the UAAP last sea­son av­er­ag­ing 75.4 PPG. Their abil­ity to put the ball through the hoop can be sus­tained and even im­proved this UAAP Sea­son 74 with a more ex­pe­ri­enced group of vet­er­ans and tal­ented rook­ies like Tolo­mia and Es­coto. Look out for Romeo (8.0 PPG last sea­son) though. He ad­mit­ted to hav­ing rookie jit­ters last year but has ap­peared to have shaken all of that ner­vous­ness off for good. If given the op­por­tu­nity to take the gamewin­ning shot, Romeo will not hes­i­tate.

Out­look

High ex­pec­ta­tions trans­late to high pres­sure. That is why Coach Flores doesn’t want to place that bur­den on his play­ers any­more this sea­son.

“ Mag-Fi­nal Four lang kami OK na,” said a jolly Flores.

But, if they make it back to the UAAP Fi­nals, the coach and the play­ers will carry with them some­thing they didn’t have last year: ex­pe­ri­ence.

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