The 2011 Far Eastern University (FEU) Tamaraws basketball squad has shown that the team can be a team of destiny. After overcoming early season injuries of captain JR Cawaling, and Cameroonian's Hippolyte Noundou and Christian Sentcheu, the Tams were able to clinch the No.3 seed on the last day of the eliminations.
In the Final 4, they faced an Adamson Falcons squad that is fresh from spoiling Ateneo's perfect season. The Tams beat the Falcons in the first match 59-49 to set up a do or die Sunday with the soaring Falcons. The do or die game was a potential classic as the Tamaraws started to get hot behind the hands of freshman Mike Tolomia. The Tams got their biggest lead at 70-59 in the 4th period, only to allow the No.2 seeds to comeback behing the sizzling play of Jerick Cañada and several turnovers. The Falcons were able to being down the lead to 3 but in the end the Tam's experience made them win and clinch the finals spot against the Ateneo Blue Eagles.
It was a very enjoyable game and I felt sorry for the Falcons who were the more consistent team throughout the season. It was really disappointing but Coach Leo and his wards should be proud what they accomplished this season.
For the Tamaraws, the battle for redemption starts on Saturday. After losing to the Eagles last year, they surely would want to get their first title after 6 years by denying the dreaded Ateneo Blue Eagles. They have yet to beat the Eagles this season as they were routed in the first round and they failed to hold on to a 6 point lead with less than 2 minutes in their second encounter. It is exciting to see if Coach Bert Flores can formulate a game plan against the 14-1 Ateneo.
Today, the Tams were showing the crowd Cawiling, Noundou, and Sentcheu in uniform. It may be just be for psywar against Falcons but if they are indeed ready to play, then can surely reset the game plan that Norman Black is preparing for them. This year's finals is surely one of the most interesting in recent years.