As Tams go for kill, Racela insists they've learned from last season

Caption: FEU Tamaraws head coach Nash Racela flanked by wards Russell Escoto (left) Achie Inigo and Mike Tolomia | Efigenio Toledo IV/

MANILA, Philippines - It's one foot in the championship door for coach Nash Racela and his Tamaraws.
But if there's something experience has taught last year's UAAP bridesmaid, it's treading their way carefully toward the championship.
"We learned our lesson from last year. We were up one game but we lost," FEU's head coach Racela said shortly after drawing first blood in the UAAP Finals series last Wednesday. 
On the brink of snaring the 20th championship for Far Eastern University, the third-year coach was referring to the Morayta-based cagers' meltdown in the last two games against NU Bulldogs during the championship series last year.
"Ganyan din kami [last year]... We're playing too many minutes, [guys] were too tired," he said of the Tigers, who ignited for an early fourth quarter run in during Game 1 and nearly pulled off an upset.
Relatively a newbie in the UAAP hoops hostilities, Racela is no rookie when it comes to high-level competition. Prior to commandeering the Tamaraws, he won a title in the now-defunct Metropolitan Basketball Association. He also served in the famed San Beda Red Lions of the NCAA. 
Additionally, the brother of PBA Legend and former King Eagle Olsen also served in the pros - including in the PBA finals where he coached alongside Chot Reyes in 2003 and even lending his insights to the national team.
In the same presser, Racela took a glance at his old reliables - graduating Tams in Mac Belo, Mike Tolomia and Roger Pogoy - and made himself clear. "We need another win," he said.
While FEU forced UST to make their key guys log heavy minutes, Racela, who throughout the Season 78 had a calm and collected look, explained that they're not taking any chances.
Racela insists they're ready for everything; he gave little importance on who will lock horns with his team in the ultimate duel, saying "Kahit sino," shortly after beating the Ateneo Blue Eagles to book the first finals seat. That confidence rang true even until after the conquest of the Tigers. 
"This is an underrated defensive team," he said of his wards. "They really worked hard and it showed. Racela even sang praises of the team's unselfish play, "They don't care about credit."
This time though, Racela's words hinted of a sliver of optimism - that the Tams will be able to exorcise last year's demons and snare the coveted 20th crown.??
"Hopefully it's going to be different this year," Racela said.
comments powered by Disqus