We survived four must-win games in the homestretch to enter the final four for a sixth consecutive year but was denied entry to the finals for the third straight year in a row by the Ateneo Blue Eagles.
From the first minutes of the game, Ateneo attacked with eight straight points and never looked back. They stymied our vaunted outside scoring, limiting us to only four out of twenty-six shots from three-point country and outrebounded us fifty to forty-three. We were outscored in the first three quarters, but put up a gallant stand in the fourth making the school proud even in a losing effort.
Some Lessons from the Season
In the dug-out, lessons were drawn from this season:
Consistency. We had a roller-coaster of a season. We played some great games, but let ourselves down in at least four games. We played solidly against teams in contention, but let our guards down against lower-ranked teams, thus consigning ourselves to a difficult situation where we had to fight hard for a place in the final four.
Each Game/Practice Session Counts. In the final analysis, there are no easy nor hard games; each game is important since each game counts. We approach each game with the same dedication, just as we approach each practice session seriously. How we play on the court depends on what we are able to accomplish in practice.
Every Player Must Step Up. We have a 16-man rotation, and each one is important though at times we play back-up or show support from the bench or in the Diliman quarters. Team chemistry, cohesion and companionship took work to achieve, and even in off-season best maintained.
Thanks to the Graduating Players
While we deserve our break as the season ends, let us keep in mind to improve our conditioning as athletes: stamina, strength and speed; and, to improve our standing as students: serious study to maintain our scholarship. Finally, to remember that the formation of character is an important objective of sports.
To the Graduating Players, Thanks. To captain Richard, to Arvin, to JR, RJ, Axel and Prince: you have served your school well and made us all proud. You have had your difficult stretches (a new baby, injury, slumps and suspensions) as well as given us memorable moments that will become part of FEU folklore. You have overcome the adversities of a challenging year, and our prayer is for you to strive and thrive in the years ahead.
Be Brave, Tamaraws! Ed Garcia, 26 November 2018