Given their legacy of winning, the Far Eastern University Tamaraws always play with a chip on their shoulders. Last season, the Tamaraws were quick to shed their underdog tags, taking down then-defending champions Ateneo Blue Eagles on the first day of the tournament.
But when they ran into the same Ateneo squad in the Final Four, FEU could not hold off the Blue Eagles, even with a twice-to-beat advantage. Five-time UAAP MVP Marck Espejo poured in 55 and 37 points to lead them to victory.
To start Season 81, the Tamaraws were again ready to make a statement, thoroughly sweeping the defending champions National University Bulldogs.
The Tamaraws came prepared and never gave the Bulldogs breathing room. But FEU have also learned that early success does not translate to championships.
“Masarap sa feeling namin kasi kitang kita kanina ‘yung kagustuhan ng players manalo. Sobrang gaan nila as a team,” said FEU heas coach Rey Diaz.
“Pero, first game pa lang eh. Kailangan namin ma-maintain ‘yung ganitong focus sa lahat ng games.”
“Ang goal namin is a championship. Champion team sila so magandang start sa amin. Pero mahaba pa ‘yung season,” added graduating team captain Richard Solis who tallied nine points against NU.
The Tamaraws last won a title in Season 75. This batch of Tamaraws knows that this could be their chance to regain their luster.
“Sabi sa amin ni coach na ibalik namin ‘yung legacy sa FEU, so ‘yun ang gusto namin gawin.”