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

Our season ended in overtime, with a heartbreak loss to Ateneo.  But, the way we played and the way we all gave our best till the dying seconds will long be remembered.

We proved the doubters wrong.  We may not have had the most talented team in the league, man for man.  But we certainly were the most spirited and we showed this in our defensive game, in the way we fought for the rebounds, chased every ball and made every effort to score.

Sports in FEU tradition has always been about building character.  It is not so much whether you win or lose, but how you play the game.  What is important is to play one’s best, and learn to win with humility, and lose with grace.

There is one other thing:  Tamaraws are resilient.  We know how to bounce back from defeat. When we lost the finals to NU, the next year we returned with a vengeance and won the championship in epic style – with big hearts and a magnificent team.

This year, two of our team-mates leave us: our team captain, Raymar Jose, and Monbert Arong.  We thank them for their service and leadership through example.  To the rest of the team: you have achieved much, in fact, more than most expected, and we thank you and congratulate you all.

To Coach Nash, Sirs Mark and Anton (who oversee the university’s sports program) and the entire coaching and support staff who guided us with patience and wisdom, with warmth and humanity – our boundless thanks.

It is now December, and we all deserve a break, to rest and recover.  But remember, it is now day 1 of the team-in-formation.  Here are some thoughts for the holidays:

  1.  Refocus on the Studies:  Get good grades, for they qualify you for the next season.
  2.  Remember Family/Friends:  Thank them for their love and support.  They had your back the whole season; return their love.
  3.  Exercise, and Keep Fit:  Exercise so that you keep improving your stamina and strength.  You can’t let go.  Keep fit, all the time.  Rest well, sleep regularly, eat healthy.  Retain your fighting weight. Jog, do long runs, and speed runs.
  4. Practice Your Shots:  Foul throws make a difference, develop a comfortable sequence, where you breathe first, relax and throw.  Take lay-up shots, jumpshots, three point shots from every angle till you make at least three out of every four shots. A hundred shots a day help you develop “memory muscles” and pin-point accuracy.  Practice makes perfect.
  5. Be Mindful Athletes:  At the start of the year, we talked about the meaning of mindfulness.  We aimed to become mindful athletes – reduce turnovers, concentrate on every possession and improve our shooting percentage.  Remember to breathe at the beginning and end of everyday, every meal, and during breathing breaks while we play the beautiful game.  Develop mindfulness, and become mindful athletes.
  6. Retain Your Sense of Humor:  We take our games seriously, but remember it is just a game.  Keep our perspective, and keep our sense of humor.  Learn to laugh at ourselves and our frailties.  When a game is over, life awaits. What we learn on or off the court, will serve us well in life!
  7.  Pray, and Pray for Each Other:  In every game, we prayed as a team and prayed for each other.  It is not only a ritual or a habit.  It is something we do because we are truly grateful for all our blessings, and we always need our Lord’s guidance, His love and forgiveness.

May all the blessings of the birth of the Christ Child be with you and your family during the holiday season and the coming year.

Be Brave!

Ed Garcia

1 December 2016