FEU's Flores hopes to be back next season

'It was a bad year'

His position is in limbo but coach Bert Flores still wants to call the shots for Far Eastern University, although he’s leaving it all up to school management.

“Oo naman,” was Flores’ quick answer when asked if he hopes to keep his job despite the Tamaraws’ failure to clinch a Final Four slot in the UAAP Season 75 men’s basketball action. “Trabaho ‘yun. Sayang naman kung tatanggihan natin.

“Pero bahala na ‘yung management kung ano man ang magiging desisyon nila,” he added.

One of the pre-season favorites, FEU, bidding to make up for its first runner-up finish the past two seasons, absorbed a 66-69 stunner dealt by La Salle in their do-or-die battle for the last semis slot last Wednesday, the team’s initial great run ending in a heartbreaking finish.

The Tamaraws blew two chances to book a seat in the Final Four. Last September 23 they dropped an 81-84 overtime decision to National University which relegated them to a knockout duel against the Archers, with the Bulldogs gaining the No. 3 slot due to their superior quotient.

Ranged against the pumped-up Archers, the Tamaraws seemed headed for a semis clash with the top-seeded Blue Eagles, leading by as many as 60-50 midway in the fourth quarter, only to lose steam in the stretch.

“Bad talaga ‘yung season. Hindi talaga para sa amin kaya ‘Forget Four’ na lang,” lamented Flores, who steered the Morayta-based cagers to their last title in 2005 behind a team bannered by Arwind Santos.

Despite a shored-up roster led by former MVP RR Garcia and vastly-improving Terrence Romeo, the Tamaraws, who started the season with four straight wins, came up short of everybody’s lofty expectations.

With their season ending in disappointment, the team has been reduced to finger-pointing. Consider Romeo’s remark about Garcia as the best example.

“Nagkausap kami ni Terrence pero si RR hindi pa. Nagtataka si Terrence, ang sabi, ‘Coach, bakit ganu’n ang laro ni RR? ‘Di ba MVP siya?’” Flores disclosed, then added: “Sabi ko naman na may (ankle) injury si RR. Dapat nga ooperahan na siya pero panay therapy na lang muna ang ginagawa sa kanya.”

He didn’t say it out loud but Flores admitted he has warned his players against dipping their hands into dubious activities.

“Nasa kanila na ‘yun. Kinukonsensya ko sila sa mga pag-uusap namin before every game. Lagi kong sinasabi kanila na ‘Hindi niyo ikayayaman ‘yan. Habang buhay niyo pang dadalhin ‘yan. Ang kapal naman ng mukha niyo kung gagawin niyo pa ‘yun sa school na nagpapakain at nagpapaaral sa inyo. Kung gagawin niyo ‘yun, may balik naman.’”

Garcia and Romeo are expected to be back next year, with the former playing in his last year, although he has an option to join the pro league draft. Out of the team are forward Mark Anthony Bringas and center Clarence Foronda who have played their last year with the squad.