ANGELES CITY–Blackwater’s new coach Nash Racela seemed like he hasn’t skipped a beat despite missing the PBA sidelines for a long time.
Racela steered the Elite to a 2-1 record in the Philippine Cup at the expense of the winless NLEX, 98-88, on Saturday at the Smart 5G-powered Angeles University Foundation Sports and Cultural Center.
But the 48-year-old mentor bared that it wasn’t easy for him to return to the league after losing his post in TNT KaTropa two years ago.
“When I got kicked out of Talk N’ Text (TNT), in a way I lost interest in the PBA. I wasn’t watching the game for at least a year,” said Racela.
The former Far Eastern University tactician led TNT to a finals and five playoffs appearances in two years.
But the KaTropa’s underwhelming performance early in the 2018 Commissioner’s Cup prompted the management to put him on leave and eventually replace him with current head coach Bong Ravena.
Racela found his way back to the PBA after he signed a two-year deal with Blackwater in November last year.
He could only thank his current Elite squad for helping him readjust to the league.
“What really helped me was number one, ‘yung coaches and players that we have. They’ve been helping me a lot by giving inputs,” said Racela, whose familiarity with PBA also encouraged him to take another shot at coaching in the pros.
“Number two is really the familiarity. Most of the players I know, the team tendencies and the coaches are the same,” he said.
“Those are the things that really helped me to slowly be comfortable with coaching again in the PBA.”