PBA: Outgoing coach Racela hopes Blackwater 'starts turning things around'

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 21 2021 02:30 PM

Former Blackwater coach Nash Racela. PBA Media Bureau
Former Blackwater coach Nash Racela. PBA Media Bureau

MANILA, Philippines -- Nash Racela is hopeful for the future of the Blackwater franchise, even as he was dismissed by the team following a historically dismal campaign in the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup.

The Bossing lost all 11 of their assignments this conference, and have now dropped 19 consecutive games dating back to last season's Philippine Cup. It is the longest losing streak in the history of the PBA.

"I know that I, together with the staff, did our very best despite the obvious limitations that we had," Racela said in a statement.

"Those who understand basketball for sure know that coaching is just one part of the equation. Player composition and management style play a major part in the success of any team, especially in our league PBA," he noted.

Racela, who was appointed as head coach of the Bossing in November 2019, had a relatively bright start to his coaching career with the team, as they won two of their first three games in the 2020 All-Filipino Conference and were mostly competitive despite losing their last eight games.

But this year the losses piled up rapidly, and often in lopsided fashion. They lost games by an average of 17 points per game in the conference. 

Yet as Racela stressed, they had some "obvious limitations." The team made moves in the offseason that depleted their firepower, including trading Mac Belo to Meralco in exchange for Baser Amer in February.

In March, the Bossing shipped out a bevy of players -- Maurice Shaw, Roi Sumang, and Don Trollano -- in a three-team trade involving NLEX and TNT. In exchange, they got Simon Enciso, Ed Daquioag, David Semerad, and a couple of draft picks.

Enciso emerged as their leading scorer with 13.7 points per game, but it was far from enough to lift the Bossing to victory.

Nash Racela gives instructions to the Blackwater players. PBA Media Bureau
Nash Racela gives instructions to the Blackwater players. PBA Media Bureau

Despite their woeful results, Racela said he remains grateful to the Bossing for the opportunity he got with the franchise.

"(I'm) still thankful to Blackwater management for the opportunity the last two years," he said. "I understand their frustration, and I'm aware they have the right to do what they think is best for their franchise."

Racela, who previously coached TNT Tropang GIGA, only wished for one thing from his former team.

"Looking back, I just hope they talked to me first before rushing to announce to the press," he said.

Blackwater team owner Dioceldo Sy said on Monday that he has yet to talk to Racela but vowed to honor what remains of the coach's contract with the team.

"Ang contract ni Coach Nash, I'm not sure if it's up to November or December only, so patapos na rin," he said. "So, it's easy. We just continue paying up to the end of the contract, so walang issue 'yun."

Racela is now hoping that the Bossing will truly begin to improve in the coming seasons. Sy on Sunday tapped Ariel Vanguardia, the team's alternate governor, as interim head coach.

"I still wish them the best in the next conference and the seasons to come. I seriously hope they start turning things around under coach AV for this will really be good for the balance of the league," said Racela.

The Blackwater players, for their part, have expressed their gratitude to Racela. Notably, forward Carl Bryan Cruz on Instagram thanked Racela for helping them become "winners in life."

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"(I) received personal messages also from some expressing the same," Racela said. "I'm just happy that I had an impact on their lives because that's what coaching is all about. As always, I just hope for the best for all of them."