April 25, 2024

UAAP Season 86 preview: FEU keeps focus on Final Four aspirations

UAAP Season 86 preview: FEU keeps focus on Final Four aspirations
Photo (c) UAAP

The FEU Lady Tamaraws have been slowly building themselves up as Final Four contenders, especially after their impressive performance in UAAP Season 85.

However, recent departures by key players during the offseason left plenty of questions on how the team will perform in Season 86.

Despite this, the Morayta-based squad is still considered as one of the more dangerous squads heading into the new season.

Head coach: Manolo Refugia Jr.

Key losses: Kiesha Bedonia, Max Juangco, Jov Fernandez

Key returnees: Chen Tagaod, Gerz Petallo, Tin Ubaldo

Season 85 record: 6-8 (5th place)

A big part of why FEU is as dangerous as ever is the addition of Congolese rookie Faida Bakanke.

The 6-foot lefty opposite hitter has been making a name for herself during the team’s pre-season tournaments.

Bakanke’s teammates have likewise had nothing but praises for her contributions to the team both on and off the court.

But now that she’s set to make her debut on the main stage, Bakanke is more excited than ever to show off her skills.

“I'm very excited to play [in the] UAAP. I know it's not easy but I can do it with my teammates. I have confidence with myself and confidence also with my coaches and my teammates. We know we can do it, we can be better,” Bakanke told One Sports.

Of course, it won’t be just Bakanke leading the charge for the Lady Tamaraws.

Chenie Tagaod will be among those tasked to spearhead FEU in its goal of making the Final Four.

With a more experienced and committed FEU squad this time around, the 5-foot-8 outside hitter is confident that the team can reach their long-awaited goal.

“Madami kaming madadala nung nagawa namin last season kasi sobrang nasayangan kami noon. Alam namin na kaya naming makapasok [sa Final Four] pero parang siguro kulang pa sa push,” said Tagaod.

“Ngayon mas alam namin na kailangan i-push 'yung sarili namin, 'yung team. Ngayon, mas magtutulungan and ngayon mas committed dun sa goal ng team,” she added.