By: Ohmer Bautista
Despite absorbing a crushing series sweep at the hands of the NU Bulldogs, the Far Eastern University Tamaraws showed no signs of dreariness as they still held their head high after their Game Two defeat in the Finals.
After all, they still finished as runners-up at the end of a commendable season that saw the Tamaraws quench a six-year Finals appearance drought.
“Siyempre, proud pa rin ako sa na-achieve namin.
“Pinaghirapan kasi ng team ‘to, although hindi namin nakuha yung championship. Team effort kasi ‘to kaya masaya kami,” graduating FEU skipper Richard Solis confided.
For Solis, the major reason behind their optimistic post-defeat demeanor lies in what the future holds for the Morayta-based squad.
“Alam ko next season, amin na yan.
“‘Wag silang titigil. Basta maglaro lang kayo ng all-out kasi yun ang mahalaga,” the native of Batangas added.
His bold prediction can largely be attributed to FEU only having two graduating players in him and RJ Paler.
With this, the Morayta-based squad will field an almost-intact lineup in a league that will feature a Bryan Bagunas-less NU Bulldogs on top of several revamping collegiate teams next season.
For his part, Solis admitted having mixed emotions as he bid FEU and the UAAP goodbye.
“This is my last season[, so] siyempre malungkot [na] magi-iba ‘yung takbo ng buhay. So, medyo malungkot kasi hindi na ko makakalaro ng UAAP,” he confessed. “Pero siyempre masaya at napakalaking salamat ko sa FEU community. Binigyan nila ako ng opportunity na makalaro dito.
“Sila ‘yung dahilan kung bakit ako nakapaglaro dito.”
Moreover, he made sure to tip his hat to the mind behind FEU’s success, his mentor and coach Rey Diaz.
He cheerily expressed, “Kay coach Rey, napakalaki ng utang ng loob ko kay coach Rey, alam niya yan. Inside and outside the court.
“Hindi ko alam kung paano ko siya pasasalamatan pero siya ang rason kung bakit ako ganito, kaya thankful na thankful ako kay coach Rey.”