SINCE he replaced older brother Nash as Far Eastern University coach in late 2016, former pro league star Olsen Racela has steered the Tamaraws to three straight Final Four appearances, only to fall short.
FEU is raring to get over the hump and win its first title in five years, which explains why the Tamaraws hit the ground running early and linked up with Seaoil for the PBA D-League Aspirant’s Cup.
“We are very happy to partner with Seaoil in the coming D-League,” said team manager Richie Ticzon. “FEU is grateful for their support, especially as this tournament will be the start of our preparation for the UAAP season.”
The Tams, led by Racela and athletic director Mark Molina, have agreed to the partnership with Seaoil’s vice president for corporate and consumer marketing Jose Jaime dela Fuente and president for lubricants Lawrence Kristoffer Yu.
Seaoil-FEU, which will be known as Extreme Racers, will parade prized newcomers RJ Abarrientos, Nigerian slotman Emman Ojoula, and Baby Tamaraws’ versatile forward Chiolo Anonuevo.
L-Jay Gonzales and Xyrus Torres are expected to lead the Extreme Racers’ charge in the season-opening tourney set to kick off on Feb. 13 at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
The Tams wound up with an 8-6 card after the elimination round for third in the last UAAP cage wars.
FEU, however, bowed to fourth-ranked University of Santo Tomas 71-81 in their stepladder semifinals battle.
The Tams lost Wendell Comboy, Barkley Ebona, and Hubert Cani due to graduation.
Aside from Seaoil-FEU, defending NCAA champion Letran, which will carry the colors of Wangs Basketball-Letran anew, UST-Builders Warehouse, Karate-Kid Centro Escolar University, and AMA Online Education headline the 12-team field.
Completing the cast are San Sebastian College, Diliman College, Technological Institute of the Philippines, Enderun Colleges, and newcomers EcoOil-La Salle and Mapua University.