FAR EASTERN University may be the defending champion, but coach Nash Racela thinks the pressure weighs more on La Salle when the UAAP Season 79 men’s basketball tournament unfolds this weekend.
“Personally as a coach I don’t really feel it,” said Racela, noting that expectations on his Tamaraws won’t be the same following the graduation of last year’s champion core led by Mac Belo, Mike Tolomia and Roger Pogoy.
“We don’t talk about it in FEU. We just remind [the players] to focus on their improvements, day to day.”
Looking back, Nash Racela didn’t see himself as a coach. He never even wanted to become one.
Things change and Racela has turned into one of the most successful coaches today after leading Far Eastern University to its first UAAP title in a decade last year.
“I never wanted to be a coach, it wasn’t really part of my plan,” said Racela during an episode of SportsIQ on Thursday.
There are coaches who can reach out to their players on a personal level, be it becoming a father-figure, taking interest in their players’ hobbies, or just basically hanging out with the team.
Nash Racela, the head coach of Far Eastern University, is all of the above.
“As a father to them may pagka-stalker ako sa social media. Itong generation na ito puro social media,” said Racela in an episode of SportsIQ, which airs every Thursday on INQUIRER.net and Radyo Inquirer. “I follow most of them and nakikita ko kung kailan anniversary nila.”
Far Eastern University will have to make do and defend its UAAP men’s basketball title without its core players from last season.
Mac Belo, who was the Finals MVP in FEU’s title win over University of Santo Tomas last year, star point guard Mike Tolomia, sharpshooter Roger Pogoy, lanky big Russel Escoto, and guards Achie Iñigo and Alfrancis Tamsi won’t be with the Tamaraws anymore for the 79th Season of the UAAP.
FEU head coach Nash Racela, however, knows the Tamaraws will be prepared when the new season opens Saturday.
BEFORE Nash Racela took over the Far Eastern University program, he made sure everyone would buy into his plan to change the team culture.
“There was a lot of resistance at first,” admitted Racela Thursday night in an interview with Sports IQ, the Inquirer’s live omni-platform sports talk show.
Racela inherited a team that been the target of nasty basketball rumors, including game-fixing. Its players would often get into on-court controversies. And one player had been accused of taking drugs.
NEW FACES pack the sidelines as four of five new coaches debut right on opening day of the UAAP Season 79 men’s basketball tournament on Sept. 4 at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Host University of Santo Tomas, with new mentor Boy Sablan, takes on an Ateneo side that tapped no less than national team coach Tab Baldwin at 4 p.m.
University of the Philippines, which signed up Bo Perasol right after his three-year stint with Ateneo, heads into a 2 p.m. duel versus an Adamson squad that hopes to turn its fate around with former champion La Salle coach Franz Pumaren.
MANILA, Philippines -- Change will not be coming in the UAAP 79 Basketball Tournaments – in terms of leadership, that is.
Atty. Rene “Rebo” Saguisag Jr. will return for his second straight season as commissioner for the Men’s, Women’s, and Juniors tournaments, according to University of Sto. Tomas official Gilda Camus.
UST is the host for the 79th Season of the country’s premiere collegiate league.