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Tams never doubted they can make the Final Four this UAAPS82, says Comboy

by Niel Victor Masoy, November 05, 2019 3:50pm

Far Eastern University (FEU) entered this University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) season 82 Men’s basketball tournament with no high expectations from outside forces - the media and the fans.

See, the Tamaraws no longer have their stars in Arvin Tolentino and Nigerian center Prince Orizu for this year, losing the duo to graduation. Also, FEU’s lineup were composed of a bunch of rookies like Royce Alforque and Xyrus Torres.

Obviously, there’s the inexperience of the Tams. Pairing all of that to the other teams getting stronger, the conclusion is easy - FEU is not a favorite to make the Final Four this year.

Still, Tamaraws co-captain and graduating guard Wendell Comboy shared they never even had a tinge of doubt that they can make the Semifinals this season 82.

“Never kami nagkaroon ng doubt (na makakapasok kami sa Final Four) kasi, ako, si Barkley (Ebona), and yung team captain namin na si Kenneth Tuffin, sobrang laking tiwala namin sa isa’t-isa,” said the six-foot Comboy.

“Before kami pumapasok sa school, pinaguusapan namin yan na we have a big chance. Kahit na yung start ng season pa lang nagkaroon kaagad ng problema.

“Yung import namin supposedly to play si Emman (Ojuala). Andyan si Patrick. Sobrang laking pasalamat namin kay Patrick kasi every game, nagi-improve siya,” said Comboy, referring to UAAP’s decision of deeming Nigerian center Ojuala ineligible to play this season.

Well, that Tams belief that they can make the Final Four, and the work they put in along with it, paid off.

With its win over the University of the East (UE) Red Warriors last October 27, FEU finished the eliminations with an 8-6 win-loss card, and thus reached the stepladder Semifinals as the third seed team.

Heck, FEU could have even snag the second seed - which comes with a twice-to-beat incentive in the second phase of the Semis - had it not lost twice to the also-ran National University (NU) Bulldogs in the eliminations.

Comboy said the Tamaraws used all the doubts from the outside as their motivation to Be Brave this season.

“First of all, yung start ng season pa lang, sobrang laking pressure na sa amin mga veterans. Kasi parang andyan na yung mga media, nagpu-forecast sila kung ano yung Final Four nila, tas yung FEU wala,” uttered Comboy.

“Tapos yung teammate ko si Barkley Ebona, meron siyang meme na ginawa nung isang group sa social media na parang ‘ngiting Tagaytay o ngiting Final Four’. Para sa amin, masakit sa amin yun eh. Para kasing wala ba silang tiwala sa mga seniors namin so yun yung naging motivation namin.”

FEU faces the fourth seed University of Santo Tomas (UST) Growling Tigers (8-6) on Wednesday in a knockout game of the first phase of the stepladder Semis at the Araneta Coliseum.

The victor of the said contest battles the second seed and twice-to-beat armed University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons in the second phase of the Semis on November 10 also at the Big Dome.

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