After bleak PBA outing, Nash Racela finds redemption at Adamson

Aeron Gabriel V. Pantig

Posted at Dec 05 2022 07:11 AM

A glum outing in the pros led Nash Racela back to the collegiate ranks, where he is finding joy in the game again. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News
A glum outing in the pros led Nash Racela back to the collegiate ranks, where he is finding joy in the game again. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

Exactly a year and three days after his return to the collegiate ranks was announced, Nash Racela once again reached the Final Four in UAAP men’s basketball.

Racela steered the Adamson University Soaring Falcons to a heart-stopping 80–76 win against Derrick Pumaren’s De La Salle Green Archers on Sunday to claim the last ticket to the Season 85 semifinals. 

His improbable run with Adamson came at the heels of a bleak stint in the PBA, in which wins were much harder to come by.

The 51-year-old coach went through a 19-game skid with the Blackwater Bossing, the worst losing streak by a team in PBA history. With a 2-20 record, Racela was fired before he moved on to Adamson, heading to UAAP Season 84.

“Well, the PBA experience, I can’t say I don’t cherish those times in the PBA. I actually enjoyed it. I enjoyed winning, I enjoyed losing as much as winning. Ganoon talaga ang basketball. Naiintidihan ko naman na hindi ka laging nananalo,” Racela said in an exclusive interview with ABS-CBN Sports.

Racela was tapped to be in charge of rebuilding the Soaring Falcons. Moving on from Adamson’s Jerrick Ahanmisi era, the UAAP Season 78 champion coach found his main man in Jerom Lastimosa and his biggest recruit in UPIS standout Ray Allen Torres.

Although his first season with the San Marcelino squad was hounded by the question, "Who would be the Robin to Lastimosa’s Batman?" Racela and the Soaring Falcons showed glimpses of a promising future.

“There will be highs, there will be lows. So it’s nice that after those losses in my PBA coaching, I was able to recover,” Racela shared. 

Now in Season 85, the Soaring Falcons have adapted to and fully embraced the system of Nash Racela. There might be no clear-cut second option for Adamson, but the likes of Lenda Douanga, Joem Sabandal, Joshua Yerro, Vince Magbuhos, and the returning AP Manlapaz have stepped up to the plate and excelled in their respective roles.

“The players are very receptive to teaching. They are all willing learners so it makes our jobs easier as coaches. I hope it continues,” he said. 

In the end, Racela also gave credit to his assistants Rommel Adducul, Ryan Betia, Ed Lorenz dela Torre, Gilbert Lao, Benjamin Sipin III and Mike Fermin.

“It’s not just me, but again it’s a collective effort, yung mga coaches namin has been really great working and guiding the players.” 

Another do-or-die match is in front of Racela as he clashes against three-time UAAP champion Tab Baldwin on Wednesday at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.