FEU Spikers rebound with twin wins

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FAR Eastern University held off a surprisingly tough University of the East, 25-16, 25-17, 22-25, 25-18, to boost its Final Four campaign in the UAAP Season 77 women’s volleyball tournament yesterday at the Filoil Flying V Arena. The Lady Warriors finally won a set this season and even led, 12-11, in the fourth frame before Bernadette Pons and Remy Palma combined forces down the stretch to help the Lady Tamaraws win for the first time in 2015 and improve to 4-5 card.

“Gumana ang depensa at attack ng mga open spikers (ng UE). Ganoon talaga, second round na ito. On and off pa rin ang laro, hindi puwedeng ganoon sa mga natitira naming laro,” said FEU mentor Shaq delos Santos, whose wards halted a two-game slide.
Pons tallied 14 points and 11 digs, while Palma had two blocks to finish with 11 points for the Lady Tamaraws.

The Lady Warriors, who dropped to 0-9, drew big numbers from Shaya Adorador (14 hits) and Angelica Dacaymat (13 hits) but committed a whooping 38 errors.
In men’s play, Greg Dolor had three blocks for a 23-point effort as FEU nipped UP, 25-21, 25-18, 18-25, 22-25, 15-10, for its third win in eight starts.

Playing their best game of the season, the Lady Warriors snatched the third frame after substitute Laizah Bendong converted a service ace which turned out to be the set point.
The Lady Tamaraws frontline struggled, as Geneveve Casugod played only in the third set as she is recovering with an ankle injury, while Jerrili Malabanan chipped in only four points after an impressive eight-hit effort against the Lady Spikers last week.

“Kailangan namin ng panalo dahil target namin Top 4. Mahirap pero kailangan paghirapan namin,” said Delos Santos, whose wards are now only trailing fourth-running University of the Philippines by half a game.

Lady Tams take early lead in UAAP Chess

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Riding on Women’s International Master (WIM) Janelle Mae Frayna’s win over reigning MVP and fellow WIM Jan Jodilyn Fronda in Board 1, the Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws edged De La Salle, 2.5-1.5 in the opening round and tripped University of the East, 3-1, in the second round. Collecting 5.5 points, FEU is half point clear of the Lady Archers, who rebounded from the opening day loss to the Lady Tamaraws with a 3.5-.5 crushing of the Lady Bulldogs.

The Tigresses and the Lady Bulldogs are in joint third place with 4.5 points.

Adamson University and National University share first place in the men’s division, even as Far Eastern University seized the top spot in the distaff side after two rounds in the UAAP Season 77 chess tournament last weekend at the 4th floor of the Henry Sy Bldg. inside the De La Salle University campus. The Falcons tallied a 2.5-1.5 win over University of Santo Tomas in the opening round and routed University of the Philippines, 3.5-1.5, in the second round.

With last season’s Rookie of the Year Austin Literatus leading the way, the Bulldogs downed Ateneo, 3-1, in the first round and downed defending champion Far Eastern University, 3-1, in the second round. Adamson, which placed second last year, and NU now has six points, half point ahead of third running UST, which has 5.5 points.

In deference of the ongoing Papal visit, the league has canceled the matches scheduled last Wednesday and this weekend. Third round action resumes on Wednesday.

FEU beats Lady Bulldogs to end skid

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Pumped-up Far Eastern University (FEU) ended a pair of losing skids on Saturday, cutting a taller National University (NU) to size as the Lady Tamaraws clinched their third win in the 77th UAAP women’s volleyball tournament at the San Juan Arena.

The Lady Tamaraws banked on the superb games of Bernadeth Pons and rookie Toni Rose Basas to overpower the Lady Bulldogs, 25-21, 26-24, 25-10 and snapped a two-game slide heading into the Christmas break.

Read more in UAAPSports.tv

Related articles:
Lady Tamaraws charge past Lady Bulldogs in straight sets
FEU blanks NU in UAAP women’s volleyball
FEU, Adamson record victories in women’s volleyball as competition pauses for the holidays
FEU, Adamson beat foes in UAAP volleyball

FEU opens football title defense by beating UST

MANILA, Philippines – Far Eastern University (FEU) coasted to a 7-4 win over University of Santo Tomas (UST) to open its title retention bid in style Sunday in the UAAP Season 77 men’s football tournament at the FEU-Diliman pitch.

The Tamaraws were in attack mode right from the start, pulled away to a commanding 4-1 lead at the break and never looked back.

Read more in ABS-CBN News

Related article:
Giganto bags hat trick as FEU Booters escape UST in 11-goal shootout

Lady Tams beat UP in straight sets in UAAP volleyball

MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATED) The Far Eastern University (FEU) Lady Tamaraws started their UAAP Season 77 women’s volleyball campaign on a strong note as they defeated the University of the Philippines (UP) Lady Maroons in straight sets Sunday at the Arena in San Juan.

Rem Palma and Bernadeth Pons led the way for the Lady Tams as they grabbed a 25-14, 26-24, and 25-20 win to join defending champions Ateneo de Manila University and University of St. Tomas (UST) as early leaders.

Read more in ABS-CBN Online

Recent articles:
Pons leads FEU to an opening win vs UP
Palms, Pons team up as Lady Tams trample Lady Maroons
Impressive starts for UAAP volley favorites

Tams, Lady Tams set to start defense of UAAP Football crowns

Field Celebration

ACTION in the UAAP Season 77 men’s football tournament kicks off on November 29 with Far Eastern University gunning for a back-to-back title romp. Opening day matches scheduled at the Ateneo’s Moro Lorenzo Football Field features last season’s runner-up University of the Philippines taking on De La Salle at 4 p.m. and Season 75 champion Ateneo facing University of the East under the lights at 6 p.m.

The Tamaraws begin their title-retention campaign against University of Santo Tomas at 3 p.m. on November 30 at the FEU-Diliman pitch, right after Adamson University makes its return in men’s football after more than a decade of absence against National University at 1 p.m.

Despite losing Dexter Chio to graduation, FEU remains formidable with reigning MVP Paolo Bugas and ace striker Jess Melliza leading the way. The Falcons will have their first televised Thursday match on ABS-CBN against the Green Archers at 3 p.m. on December 4 at the FEU-Diliman pitch.

Other televised first round matches are the Bulldogs-Fighting Maroons duel on December 11, Red Warriors-Growling Tigers on December 18 and Tamaraws-Blue Eagles on January 15.

Women’s football hostilities open on November 30 at the Moro Lorenzo Football Field, with Ateneo battling UP at 1 p.m., followed by the De La Salle-UST tussle at 3 p.m. The Lady Tamaraws, who drew an opening day bye, also remain heavy favorites in the distaff side. FEU opens its campaign against UP on December 7.

After the Finals

DSC_0469Be Brave, Tamaraws!

The journey to the finals ended in heartbreak;  the Tamaraws fought the good fight, and lost to the NU Bulldogs – putting an end to a 60-year drought in their quest for a UAAP championship.  And, because basketball can be a cruel sport, there does not seem to be a place for the runners-up.  The champions ascend the podium amidst the cheers, and the vanquished descend to the dugout.

Losing with Grace is Part of One’s Education

In sports, as in life, you can’t win them all; in fact, for a number of us who have worked in difficult fields of endeavour, it may be more accurate to say, you can’t lose them all.  The Tamaraws of 2014 have in fact achieved more than what the pundits had predicted at the beginning of the tournament.  Crashing the Final Four would have been a feat in itself, and playing in Game 3 of the Finals perhaps a dream too far.

But the team proved us wrong.  It was an imperfect team from the very start, without their standouts of the previous years, but it was blessed with young men who were willing to work together as a team, practice hard, live together in the far off campus of FEU Diliman, and  play their hearts out every time they graced the hardcourt.

DSC_0373They gifted the viewers of the game a fast-paced brand of aggressive basketball, running down the lanes for fastbreaks or looking for the open man, driving in with artistry, guarding with intensity, and rebounding with strength.  The memories abound, and none more memorable, than Mac Belo’s buzzer-beater that dethroned the defending champions Green Archers.

Yet, when it came to the crunch they fell at the last hurdle.  It was Chair Gigi Montinola who quoted eminent alumnus former Chief Justice Art Panganiban’s text message: “…Part of winning is accepting loss with grace and sportsmanship.  That’s what education is all about.”

After pouring their hearts out, our team came short.  It was not meant to be.  Accepting defeat with grace is perhaps one of life’s most difficult yet valuable lessons.  In the twists and turns that describe the lives of most young people, athletes and students alike, dealing with failure as a friend and learning from setbacks prepare us for the roads-still-to-be travelled.  Losing is par for the course and part of our learning is “losing with grace”.

Bringing the Tamaraw Nation Together

Few people believed that an FEU-NU finals would bring in the throng.  In fact, the two final games breached the records of the “Big Dome” for a single basketball game registering crowds of nearly (in one game) or just over 25,000 (in the other).  A sizeable number of those who came and those who followed the games through radio, tv or online were members of the “Tamaraw Nation”.

If one walked on one of the FEU campuses, or read the exchange at the social network sites or listened to the incessant chants or saw the lines of students and faculty alike lining up for tickets – it was like witnessing a community reborn, brought together by a common cause.DSC_0357

Around the team and support for this band of brothers who displayed a joyful brand of play gathered a following of students, alumni and supporters from far and wide thanks to the reach of the TV networks and the Filipino channel watched by sports enthusiasts and alumni from different parts of the globe.

If one donned the FEU colors around the Araneta Center or the MOA Arena during the final four, people would stop you in the streets and say, “Go Tamaraws” as if a light had been lit.  Familiar faces of former athletes and former students graced the games, and there was pride in the school.  The team and the way they played the game somehow brought together the university community like never before.

Moreover, after the Pep Rallies, the founder’s last words to his daughter who would carry on his life’s work, “Be Brave” became a battle cry as well as a reminder of the roots of the school, its tradition and values.  Be Brave stands for Fortitude; just as Be the Best stands for Excellence, and Be Better for Uprightness.

It became a mantra that was both brief and bold, and inspired people to think beyond themselves and as a part of a school that was built on the belief to do better in life despite the challenges faced by working class students or those with modest means in life.

Continuing to Pursue the Dream

There is a book written by a Nobel laureate for literature entitled, “Next Year in Jerusalem”.  It is a tribute to the yearning and the spirit of hope instilled in the hearts of people living in a contentious part of the Middle East.  We, on the other hand, live in a country – imperfect though it is — that we can call our own, where we can pursue our dreams.

Moreover, it is a country where a young man who needed to save on transport money persevered  and pursued law in Morayta to later become the highest magistrate of the land; where a scholar athlete of the university rose to become mayor of the country’s capital city; and where a lad from Midsayap, Northern Cotobato, even now has become a member of the “mythical five” of the country’s premier collegiate basketball league; where a boy in short pants from Zamboanga City entered high school and then university at FEU to weave his wizardry on the court and generate a following of young and old alike.

FEU's best products in Men's Basketball in recent years came out to support the Tams during the UAAP Finals.

FEU’s best products in Men’s Basketball in recent years came out to support the Tams during the UAAP Finals.

The Tamaraws represent a perennial quest to continually better our lives in the style of an Arwind Santos who led the last Tamaraw champions of 2005 or a Johnny Abarrientos who led not only the Tamaraws but the teams in the professional league that he played for to a total of 18 championships.

It’s more than just a game.  It is in fact larger than life.  It represents the dream of every schoolboy in the land who has ever handled an old ball in the dirt court in the barrios or the inner city streets where FEU stalwarts like Johnny begun.

Next year, perhaps. 

The dream beckons, as we continue to pursue hoop glory or different dreams.

Ed Garcia

2014 FEU Tamaraws Thank You

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Dear FEU Community,

We may have lost the UAAP Men’s Basketball Final , but thanks to all
of you, we have won the hearts of the FEU Community.

Throughout the season, our athletic teams have had great wins, but
also some terrible losses, and particularly painful defeats in
championship games.

However, your visible and enthusiastic support has steadily grown, to
the point where the FEU and NU game set attendance records of over
25,000 fans two Finals games in a row. Our FEU website and “Be Brave”
campaign has blended well with long lines to buy tickets and a noisy,
emphatic “Go Tamaraws Go” cheer both on Facebook pages and in
basketball coliseums.

To our Men’s Basketball Team, we remain proud of your best efforts.
From losing two major stars beginning the season to competing for the
Final Four, to emerging Runner-up in both the Final Four and the
Championship, you showed fortitude, resilience, and teamwork to win
close games after some crushing defeats. Sadly, we could not do it
again one last time. Thank you for overachieving.

To the Women’s Basketball Team, we went through the eye of the step
ladder needle to earn a championship battle with a superior NU team.
Although we lost, we should likewise hold our heads high. Thank you
for your fighting spirit in the face of overwhelming odds.

To our Cheerleaders, we appreciate all your hard work and coordinated
effort during each game and the Cheerdance competition. The bar for
winning has been considerably raised, but we must adjust to the times
and work harder. Thank you for all your artistic but athletic
halftime performances.

To all the Coaches and Athletes in UAAP sports, we thank you for your
dedication, commitment, and hard work. We may be outgunned in the
recruitment area, but we will always do our best to field competitive
and championship caliber teams. By working together with the help of
the FEU community, we continue our distinguished tradition of national
level athletes who get a meaningful university degree in FEU.

We have many other life battles to fight – in education, sports, and
culture. FEU will do its best to provide you the classroom and the
life lessons that it will take to make you rise up to the challenges
you personally face, and to add value to your character so you can be
better prepared to do well in both your student life and your
employable career.

As former Chief Justice and King Tamaraw Artemio Panganiban texted me
after the Finals defeat, ” My pleasure and honour, and thanks for
inviting me (to the games). Our team gave its best.
But NU won fair and square. Part of winning is accepting loss with
grace and sportsmanship. That’s what education is all about.”

Fortitude, Excellence, Uprightness – GO TAMARAWS GO

Aurelio “Gigi” Montinola
Chair
Board of Trustees

“Be Brave”, Tamaraws (Part 3 of 3)

"Be Brave" has become rallying call for the entire FEU Community (Photo by KC Cruz of GMA News)

“Be Brave” has become a rallying call for the entire FEU Community (Photo by KC Cruz of GMA News)

Postscript:

TEAM TAMARAWS 2014

Blessed with a cast of unforgettable characters who have learned to play as a team, this year’s line-up:

Team captain Big Mac Belo’s consistent play, humble demeanor and awesome display of all around talent makes him the team anchor; his dramatic buzzer-beater for three dethroned the defending champions and his fearless drives to the basket makes this gentle lad from Midsayap, North Cotabato, the team’s go- to-guy ;

Belo_buzzerbeaterMighty Mike Tolomia’s court wizardry is a delight to behold but in private he is sometimes painfully shy; this young man from Zamboanga is the driving force in the team’s offense often converting three point shots, timely jumpers or lay ups; his biggest value though is his ability to lift the team’s spirit by his amiable presence and his ready appreciation of others on or off the court;

Achie Inigo is perhaps the team’s sparkplug, the playmaker who provides  the assists, calls the shots and fights for every ball including rebounds against much taller opponents; at other times, he converts his running shots or in one instance wins the game by a timely triple truly making him the team’s “little big man”;

Bryan Cruz is the team veteran who provides maturity and restraint during tense and hectic situations; he is the team mainstay who convenes his teammates during key moments and provides a steadying presence;

Anthony Hargrove is the team’s legitimate big man, who fights for every rebound, and whose timely tip-ins have become game-changers; originally from New Jersey, Anthony is all heart and wears it on his sleeve and his ability to become part of the team hugely appreciated by his mates;

RR Pogoy is the humble and reliable go-to guy for shots from beyond the perimeter or the inside lane, or fastbreaks; the young man from Talisay, Cebu, seems to play his best games when others in the team have off days and he never seems to tire;Coach Nash2

Raymar Jose is the dependable inside man for defence or offence, and the quiet young man with the serious mien; while Al Francis Tamsi is the team’s defensive gem with a long shot to boot; but his claim to fame is his singing voice that wowed the participants at pep rallies with his rendition of “Go the Distance” and “Faithfully Yours”;

Ron Dennison, Reeve Ugsang and Jeson Delfinado, on the other hand, provide defensive back-up for the team, ready to support, to run and to pass as part of the coach’s system or pattern of play; while Jason David, Joel Lee Yu and Gus Denila complete the roster which work hard during scrimmages and work outs at the school gym in Diliman.

The Escoto brothers have been the darling of the pep rallies and the selfies, but it was Russell’s refusal to be side-lined by a shoulder injury and his ability to overcome his fears that stand out as a testament of courage and the team’s capacity “to charge”.DSC_0120

Other Members of the Coaching/Support Staff

The coaching staff includes Josh Reyes, Ryan Betia and Ron Cabagnot.  It also includes Dario de Rosas, Jonathan de Guzman, Martin Valderrama – all dedicated to the team’s conditioning/physical fitness and a team doctor in the person of Dr. Charles Cabuquit.  One cannot forget long-time co-manager Jorge Lacson, and the team’s support staff of Jojo Borja, Joseph Dutosme, Rene Tabasin and Tata Pacana.

“Be Brave”, Tamaraws (Part 1 of 3)
“Be Brave”, Tamaraws (Part 2 of 3)

Prof. Ed Garcia is FEU Diliman consultant on the formation of scholar athletes

Prof. Ed Garcia is FEU Diliman consultant on the formation of scholar athletes

“Be Brave”, Tamaraws (Part 2 of 3)

10712695_802609513093592_5104362283324794936_nCoaching with Heart:  The Gift that is Coach Nash

Nothing would have been possible without the coaches, and none more so than the team’s head coach.  Coach Nash Racela is gifted with a keen mind, an even temperament and the ability to prepare for each game with attention to detail and an eye to make adjustments in mid-stream.

Together, with coach Eric Gonzales who took over coaching chores when Coach Nash was with national team Gilas in Sevilla, Spain, for the World Cup, and team manager Ritchie Ticzon, the three of them embody the qualities of coaching with heart – relating to players, firmly yet gently, unforgiving in their demands yet fraternal in pointing out the players’ limitations.

Johhny AAs part of motivating the team to “reach for the stars”, assistant coach Gilbert Lao would put together selected scenes from the team’s previous games or from inspiring moments from films, and show the brief film to the team . The intent was to motivate members of the team to do more — fight for every loose ball, to strive for every rebound, to pass patiently till an opening was created, to run as fast as one can or to slow the pace down when the situation demanded.

Moreover, the addition of FEU basketball legend Johnny Abarrientos and the involvement of the sports stand-out Jojo Lastimosa was a deft touch engineered by athletic director Mark Molina and the university’s athletic program head Anton Montinola.  It gave recognition to the importance of life experience and witness to sporting values that boosted the team’s morale.

Amazing Grace:  Sense of Gratitude for Life’s Blessings

Made up of ordinary boys with more than ordinary basketball skill search with a unique disposition, the Tamaraws of 2014 represent a team willing to learn at every turn.  To a man, they are grateful  for the blessings they have received in life; they are prayerful and respectful to a fault; even to this day, team captain Mac Belo still greets his elders with the traditional “mano, po” — which many young people seem to have discarded or forgotten.  They pray, or seem to, at every turn of the game, before and after, and during half times; and during practice sessions.

10726278_10152320866561949_1883366341_nWhen they succeed they turn their eyes to the Lord of Creation; when they fail, they turn to the Good Shepherd who uplifts them.

Amazing grace! “How blessed we are that we can play basketball,” this is a line that I have heard from the Tams in different variations. To deepen this realization, stories such as those of the child soldiers from Sierra Leone, or the displaced of Sudan, or, the young victims of the Tsunami from Aceh are shared with them.  And, here we are: by God’s amazing grace, playing a sport we love, able to study because of the sport

Additionally, because a number of the team members come from Mindanao, such as Mac Belo from North Cotobato or Mike Tolomia from Zamboanga, the advocacy of “playing for peace in Mindanao” was proposed to them which they have taken to heart. It is refreshing to see unspoilt athletes willing to listen and learn, and to grow in wisdom on and off the court.

“It’s more than just a game” – though the Tamaraws play each game to win, they seem to know that there are other values at stake: sportsmanship, moral courage, taking on a cause larger than oneself. However, I must say that what also drives them on is “finding joy in playing the beautiful game”.DSC_0010

In the end, though the journey requires a marathon mentality – it’s all about taking one small step at a time, focusing on each play at a time, trusting in one’s teammates and coaches, finding joy in the journey,  knowing that to compete means “to seek together” and to give one’s best every time one dons the university colors.

The voice of the school’s founder resonates till this day:

“Be Brave, Tamaraws!”

To be continued…

Part 1