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FEU recalls championship journey

Mike Tolomia
Far Eastern University's Mike Tolomia tries to score a jumper off University of Santo Tomas' Embons Bonleon during their UAAP Season 78 men's basketball championship opener at the Mall of Asia Arena. Photo courtesy of Joaqui Flores

THEDugout Diaries: The Championship Run“, Far Eastern University’s newly-released book that recalls its 2015 UAAP men’s basketball title romp, is not just all about the Tamaraws’ glorious run for a record 20th crown.

The book also reminds the pain FEU had endured in the previous season, bowing to National University, which ended a 60-year title drought,as well as the rebuilding phase in 2016 where it lost several vital cogs to graduation.

Of all the books I have done, this was one I enjoyed tremendously,” said Prof. Ed Garcia, the school’s consultant for the formation of scholar-athletes, during the virtual book launch recently.

One of the framers of the 1987 Constitution, Garcia became a part of FEU’s highly-successful athletics program since 2014. He is there every game, and he writes a diary, not just for the sake of recording, but to help the young Tamaraws to strive hard on and off the court.

Among those who were part of the FEU champion team were Mac Belo, Mike Tolomia and RR Pogoy, all of them are now making waves in the pro ranks.

I told Mac, Mike, I think RR Pogoy and others that it’s very important that we write about your history, your team’s achievements because when you are grandfathers, you’ll be so proud to show this to your grandchildren,” Garcia said.

The FEU Publications-produced book has 48 pages and the school’s athletic director Mark Molina, who was also among the editorial consultants, is simply proud of the copy.

It’s more than the 2015 team,” said Molina.

Of course, there are a lot of stories of the 2015 championship but it’s really a blueprint of how FEU teams should play. It’s really about the values of the FEU basketball program that we see here in Dugout Diaries,” he added.

Team consultant Nash Racela, who was the head coach when the Tamaraws ended a 10-year championship drought, is simply grateful about the book.

We are truly excited and very happy that our journey as a group to the Season 78 championship was documented in detail,” said Racela, who now handles Blackwater in the PBA.

From our practices to the games, and even yung actual process natin of building our team–from our trips to Cebu and to our very own place in Silang, and to all those intense sessions in between,” he added.

This is, for a lot of us, a once-in-a-lifetime experience which we will forever cherish. For sure, we will all look back to the time we achieved 20 in 2015.