MANILA, Philippines -- Far Eastern University (FEU) head coach Rei Diaz is not dwelling on the Tamaraws' lost opportunity in UAAP Season 82, after the league decided to cancel all events due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The Tamaraws were 2-0 in Season 82, with wins over University of the East and University of Santo Tomas. With a veteran core anchored by JP Bugaoan and Jude Garcia, they were expected to be a title contender once again this year.
Their promising season has gone down the drain, however, after the UAAP officially terminated Season 82 last Tuesday.
"Dahil sa sitwasyon na kinakaharap natin ngayon, medyo ine-expect na din naman natin 'yung possibility ng cancellation," Diaz told ABS-CBN News.
His players were understandably disappointed. Garcia recalled his match-winner against UST, lamenting at how he did not know that it would be his last spike of the season.
Yet Diaz knows they cannot focus on their disappointment and sadness, given the reason for the cancellation of their tournament.
"'Yung dismaya, parang hindi naman mahalaga, kasi sa ngayon kung paano natin malalampasan ang crisis na kinakaharap natin, na sa magkaroon na ng solusyon," he pointed out.
Moreover, the coach is confident that his team will get another chance to contend for the UAAP crown in the coming season.
The Tamaraws fell short against National University last season, and they had yet to face off against the defending champions before Season 82 was cancelled.
"'Yung pagkakataon, sabi ko nga sa team, ang pagkakataon, dumadating sa atin 'yan," said Diaz.
"Ang mahalaga, dapat handa lang tayo 'pag dumating ulit ang pagkakataon na 'yun," he stressed.
Diaz assures that the FEU coaching staff is still monitoring the Tamaraws to ensure that they are staying in good condition. For the time being, however, their priority is the safety of their players.
"Ang mahalaga naman ngayon ay kung paano natin malalampasan ang crisis na kinakaharap natin," the coach said.
(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website).