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Synergy between Allan Albano, Racela bros sustains FEU program

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Tiebreaker Times Synergy between Allan Albano, Racela bros sustains FEU program Basketball FEU News  Olsen Racela Nash Racela FEU Men's Basketball FEU Boys Basketball Allan Albano

Which school has the longest active streak of Final Four appearances in UAAP Men’s Basketball?

Nope, it’s not Ateneo — they missed out on the semis back in Season 76.

It’s actually Far Eastern University, which has made the Final Four boat since 2013. And it would have been 12 straight Final Four appearances if not for a 69-66 battle-for-fourth loss to La Salle back in Season 75.

During the July 18 episode of Coaches Unfiltered, presented by SMART Sports and supported by Mighty Sports and Choi Garden, past and present Tamaraws coaches Nash and Olsen Racela revealed the program’s secret to consistency.

“I think most of the credit should also go to our high school coaches like Coach Allan Albano, kasi kapag nakita mo ngayon ‘yung transition ng players from high school to college… Kumbaga kami nila Coach Olsen, naghihintay na lang kami doon sa mga produkto na meron si Coach Allan,” shared Coach Nash.

“So ngayon maganda ngayon ‘yung relationship and ‘yung tie-up ng high school sa college, and I think sa program that’s very important, na imbis na umaalis ang players mo towards supposedly greener pasture, nagse-stay sila doon sa eskwela mo.”

Even if “fans” view moving from one UAAP high school to a different college is a cardinal sin, it’s not. There are many factors that play into it, including the available courses offered by other schools. And of course, high school and college are separate units that function differently.

But in FEU-Diliman, Albano has made sure that blue-chip Baby Tamaraws like L-Jay Gonzales, RJ Abarrientos, Cholo Anonuevo, Xyrus Torres, and Royce Alforque have decided to stay with the school for their tertiary education.

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It’s not just the Baby Tamaraws who have been the Tamaraws’ pipeline.

The developmental teams of the Tamaraws have also played a huge part in the program’s success.

“FEU has always been known na ‘yung program na akala mo wala nang player, tapos biglang may dadating sa Team B na, ‘Uy! Meron pala silang ganito!

“I think that’s all about player development eh. Sila Roger Pogoy, sila Mac Belo, galing sa Team B ‘yun eh. So I think ‘yung player development is very crucial also sa program ng FEU, lalo na ngayon na most of our players come from the high school,” added Coach Olsen.

The recruitment process has changed since Nash took over the program back in 2012, though.

That is why the school has needed to be creative to survive and flourish in the current landscape.

“Right now, if you notice the coaches that we have right now with sila Coach Denok, Coach Mark Isip, Coach Vic Pablo, Johnny [Abarrientos] is there… Jolas [Jojo Lastimosa] is there, so stacked kami sa coaches eh,” said Olsen.

“Mas madali kasi, maybe 10 years ago or as far as maybe six years ago, hindi ganon kahirap mag-recruit for FEU, especially players from the provinces would most likely prioritize us kapag pumupunta sila sa Manila,” added Nash.

“I don’t know why but now, ang hirap. Mas mahirap ngayon because the top schools now kalaban namin sa recruitment, dati hindi. Talk about Ateneo, UP, La Salle, hindi namin kalaban ‘yun dati, mas kalaban namin ‘yung nasa gitn. But now, nauubusan kami so we ended up really as a part of our shift, doon kami nag-focus ngayon sa player development sa high school level and then that’s where we start recruiting.”

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