Tamaraws in Decade: 10 Remarkable 2010s Moments of FEU

Gio Carlo Castro
December 31, 2019 11:56

As the decade comes to an end, let us recall the glory and pride that some of our athletic teams brought to the green-and-gold community.

These humble triumphs and gracious defeats truly defined the character of a Tamaraw over 10 years – brave and determined. It was also a good show of passion, grit and sportsmanship that marked the hearts of anyone.

Take a look at the 10 remarkable 2010s moments of FEU!

1. FEU’s 20th championship title in men’s basketball (2015)

Who would forget that the decade-long title drought of Far Eastern University (FEU) Tamaraws in University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) men’s basketball ended in this decade?

In 2015, FEU notched its 20th championship title after edging out the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Growling Tigers in the best-of-three championship series of UAAP season 78 Finals. It redeemed the green-and-gold cagers from a heartbreaking championship loss against National University (NU) Bulldogs in season 77, including their Finals appearances in 2010 and 2011.

Six notable players of the team bid farewell that year – Mac Belo, Mike Tolomia, Roger Pogoy, Russel Escoto, Achie Inigo and Francis Tamsi. Belo was also named the Finals’ Most Valuable Player (MVP).

Heading into a new decade, our gold will remain the brightest as the Tamaraws stayed to be on top with the most number of championships in the said league.

2. FEU Cheering Squad’s jungle-themed and MJ-inspired routines (2012, 2019)

The Far Eastern University Cheering Squad (FEUCS) has always been consistent in giving a ‘one for the books’ performance in University Athletic Association of the Philippines Cheerdance Competition (UAAP CDC).

In 2012, under the coaching of Jacqueline Alolor-Alota, FEUCS unleashed their wild and fiery side with a jungle-inspired performance that sent the squad to a first-runner up title. It was also the year that marked the green-and-gold cheerdancers’ 10-straight podium finish.

As the competition continue to level up in 2019, another remarkable performance from FEUCS was made with their Michael Jackson-inspired routine – this time, spearheaded by head coach Randel San Gregorio. It moonwalked the team to their back-to-back silver titles as they showcased the King of Pop’s iconic moves in front of more than 20,000 crowd.

These routines from two different coaches proved that FEUCS is certainly a perennial top contender in the country’s most anticipated pep tilt through the decade.

3. 10-peat title of FEU Lady Tracksters and 5-peat of FEU Tracksters (2013, 2014)

A ‘decade of dominance’ was once showed in University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) women’s track and field after the Far Eastern University (FEU) Lady Tracksters extended their championship streak to 10 in the 76th edition of the league.

FEU garnered 451 points to rule over the said event and Jensymille Mabunga was named as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) with four golds and a silver.

In 2014, the women’s dynasty ended but their counterpart, FEU Tracksters, built another after securing their fifth-straight championship with 479 points. Janry Ubas was named MVP that year.

The glory that FEU men’s and women’s track and field brought to the green-and-gold community and UAAP will remain through the years.

4. FEU’s ‘double treble’ in UAAP football tourney (2015)

In March 2015, the Far Eastern University (FEU) reigned supreme after making a rare double treble or triple crown in University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) football tournament for the second-straight year.

FEU prevailed over University of the Philippines (UP) in women’s play, while Tamaraw booters remained victorious after deflecting the sharp arrows of De La Salle University (DLSU) in men’s division. The high school varsity team of the University, Baby Tamaraws, completed a title sweep of the tourney after winning against Ateneo de Manila University (AdMU).

FEU striker Jess Melliza was hailed as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) and Lady Booter Alesa Dolina bagged three individual awards – MVP, best striker and best defender.

These back-to-back triple crown that marked in history will prove the next decade that FEU is a powerhouse team in the said tourney.

Photos courtesy of Jesson Ramil Cid

5. Jesson Ramil Cid, The ‘Iron Man’ of UAAP athletics (2010)

‘Once a powerhouse, always a powerhouse’, this would be the perfect way to define the track and field program of Far Eastern University (FEU) and a name has always been notable for the FEU Tracksters over the decade – Jesson Ramil Cid.

Tracing back Cid’s years as an FEU Tamaraw, one will always recall that the Ilocos Norte native truly dominated the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) men’s track and field where he was considered as the ‘Iron Man’ of the league.

In the 2010-2011 athletic year of UAAP, Cid reigned supreme in the athletics event in the said tourney by winning gold medals in several categories where he also scored new records. He was also named the Most Valuable Player (MVP) during his collegiate years.

Cid’s legacy paved way then as he qualified to represent the country in the 27th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games last 2013 and eventually notched a gold medal in men’s decathlon. The veteran was also a recipient of the FEU’s Green and Gold Awards in 2018 under the Sports Hall of Fame category.

Photo courtesy of Romy Fagon

6. Janelle Mae Frayna, Philippines’ First Woman’s Grandmaster (2016)

In 2016, Janelle Mae Frayna, a member of Far Eastern University (FEU) women’s chess team, became the country’s first Filipina Woman’s Grandmaster (WGM) after a draw against Mongolia’s International Master (IM) Davaademberel Nomin-Erdene in the 42nd World Chess Olympiad.

During her stint in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP), Frayna was hailed as Most Valuable Player (MVP) in seasons 77 and 79 and Rookie of the Year in season 75. She also graduated as cum laude with a degree in Psychology.

The achievements of Frayna can show that through the decade FEU has been leading the charge not only in a collegiate tournament – but also in Philippine sports.

7. Jersey retirement of Rachel Anne Daquis (2017)

The rise and hype of University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) women’s volleyball truly changed the state of its game over the past 10 years – rivalries were created, sporting venues were filled with thousands of spectators and an icon named “Rachel Anne Daquis” became a legend and an inspiration to anyone.

In January 2017, Far Eastern University (FEU) honored all the accomplishments and contributions of Daquis to FEU and Philippine volleyball by retiring her jersey number ‘3’. She officially joined Arwind Santos and Johhny Abbarientos whose jersey numbers, respectively 19 and 14, are hung in the rafter of FEU R. Papa gymnasium. 

The 5’10” outside hitter donned the green-and-gold colors from seasons 68 to 72 where she also led the Lady Tams to its three Finals appearances and to its 29th championship crown in 2008.

In a statement released by the University, FEU Athletics Director Mark Molina considered her as the “first superstar in UAAP women's volleyball”.

8. The dominance of FEU in UAAP chess tourney (2019)

In October 2019, Far Eastern University maintained its dominance atop of leaderboard after claiming its respective titles in the two-month long battle of University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) men’s and women’s chess tourney.

FEU’s FIDE Master (FM) John Merill Jacutina bagged the Most Valuable Player (MVP) recognition and the Rookie of the Year (ROY) award. Jacutina also won a gold medal in Board 3.

The Morayta-based chessers also prevailed in the women’s individual awards as Woman International Master (WIM) Shania Mae Mendoza grabbed the MVP award with a silver medal in Board 2, while Bea Mendoza, who placed first in Board 2, was recognized with a ROY plum.

Before the 2010s draw to a close, these top contenders of the said league brought home the first two championship titles of season 82 for the FEU Tamaraws.

9. UAAP Finals appearance of FEU MVT after 6 years (2019)

The remaining year of the decade showed that the Far Eastern University (FEU) Tamaraws are still a force to be reckoned in University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) men’s volleyball.

After two consecutive years of ending the tourney with bronze, FEU returned to its familiar territory as they soared high over the claws of Ateneo de Manila University (AdMU) Blue Eagles, securing a Finals seat in the 81st edition of UAAP.

The Reynaldo Diaz Jr.-mentored squad ended their six-year drought of Finals appearance where they also halted the five-year championship rivalry of Ateneo and National University (NU) Bulldogs.

Upon entering a new decade, FEU still remains to be the winningest school in the said tourney with 25 championship crowns over NU’s four titles. They also hold the record for having the longest Final Four appearances from seasons 56 to 70.

10. Lady Tams’ #BreakTheTrendFEU campaign and #MVPons trend (2018)

From 2012 to 2017, six consecutive years of this decade, the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) women’s volleyball tourney only witnessed two colors in its best-of-three championship series – the blue and green.

And on its 80th season, Far Eastern University (FEU) Lady Tamaraws made a historic campaign towards their 30th crown after breaking the UAAP Finals rivalry between Ateneo de Manila University (AdMU) Lady Eagles and De La Salle University (DLSU) Lady Spikers.

The George Pascua-mentored squad booked the first UAAP Finals ticket after winning over the Lady Eagles in four sets. FEU then fell short for a title quest against the defending champions Lady Spikers.

Despite their heartbreak, FEU had another remarkable moment that year courtesy of their captain Bernadeth Pons, who trended with ‘#MVPons’. The 5-foot-7 outside hitter was considered by many as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) that UAAP never had.

Pons may not have any championship title during her five-year stint with the Lady Tams, but the character and leadership she had will surely be remembered for the next decade.