The second meeting between the Far Eastern University Tamaraws and the De La Salle University Green Archers this off-season did not end well.
Thursday evening at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan City, a tune-up game between the Tamaraws and the Green Archers turned heated and had to be called-off with a minute to go in the third quarter of the unsanctioned game.
Both teams fielded its Team A in the game but La Salle was without the services of Jason Perkins, who was nursing a knee injury, while the Tamaraws were without foreign student-athlete Prince Orizu for the game.
The Tamaraws were able to keep pace with the Green Archers entering halftime as the rebuilding Morayta cagers were able to buck early foul trouble.
“Tabla yung game, 54-all, at halftime tapos 9:44 pa lang ng third, penalty na kami,” FEU head coach Nash Racela recalled. “That was when I decided to pull my starters out and put in the players at the end of the bench. Doon na lumaki yung lamang nila.”
During the second frame of the game, Cameroonian student-athlete Ben Mbala, alleging that the physicality of the Tamaraws defense on him was too much, tried to express his “discontent” towards Racela in-game.
“Talk to your players, talk to your players,” Mbala was overheard saying towards Racela.
This was a break from the typical protocol one assistant coach from a UAAP school told Tiebreaker Times. Athletes never directly say their qualms to the opposing coaches as it is the team official’s job to relay the message to their counterparts.
The 44 year old mentor simply shrugged him off, not saying a thing. On the other hand, his coaching staff just pushed Mbala to just keep on playing.
In the third quarter of the game, things got a little heated between the two teams as the Tamaraws were assessed with three flagrant fouls. That’s when Racela pulled out his players and, later on, deemed that the physicality of the game is no longer healthy for everyone involved.
“I just wanted to protect my players para ‘di na rin magkasakitan,” the UAAP champion coach said. “Nagkakatirahan na e.”
“Doon na rin nag-agree yung officials to end the tune-up game. Ang akin naman, I told my players na huwag na ring patulan.”
Looking back, Racela shared that his team wanted to show to the Green Archers that the Tamaraws will not easily give up the crown they earned last season.
“We don’t want La Salle to feel confident going into this season. We wanted to show that we won’t back down,” Racela closed.
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