Far Eastern University now has a new head coach for its men’s basketball team.
Raul Cesar “Nash” Racela will formally take over the UAAP’s winningest team on November 1. He replaced Bert Flores, who was the last coach to win a UAAP crown for the Morayta-based squad in 2005. FEU has the most senior basketball titles in the league with 19.
After a strong start in the recently concluded UAAP cage season, the Tamaraws failed to secure a Final Four ticket for the first time since 2007 after bowing to the De La Salle Green Archers, 66-69, in the playoff game for the fourth spot.“FEU is pleased to announce the appointment of Nash Racela as Head Coach of the FEU Tamaraws Men’s Basketball Team effective November 1, 2012,” read the school’s official Facebook page. “We look forward to an exciting UAAP Season 76 as FEU celebrates its 85th year in 2013.”
FEU Athletic Director Mark Molina said on his Twitter account, “Welcome to FEU @scwtN,” referring to the younger brother of Petron head coach Olsen Racela.
“I am thankful and grateful for this for this golden opportunity to coach a promising team like the Tamaraws, and a great institution like FEU. It’s been a long while since my last coaching stint. I’m very excited to get to work with the boys and, hopefully, I can lead this team to a good season next year,” said Racela in an exclusive interview with Y! Philippines.
Racela’s last head coaching stint was in 2005 when he was at the helm of the San Beda Red Lions in the NCAA. He led the Lions to their first NCAA Final Four appearance since 1998 a year before. He also holds one championship with the Batangas Blades in the now defunct Metropolitan Basketball Association. Currently, Racela serves as chief tactician of new PBA D-League team Fruitas-San Beda Shakers, and deputy assistant to Norman Black in Talk ‘N Text. He is also part of the Smart-Gilas Pilipinas 2.0 coaching staff, and assisted brother Olsen in the Under-18 Energen Pilipinas national youth team.
Despite not handling any team in a head coaching capacity in the last seven years, Racela has had to call the shots for the Tropang Texters in a few PBA games when the head coach was not around. In the current PBA tournament, he led Talk ‘N Text to an overtime victory against the Meralco Bolts in their very first game, as Black was still preoccupied with the Ateneo Blue Eagles in the UAAP Finals.
“I’m expecting a very tough and competitive season in 2013 with strong teams like Ateneo, UST, La Salle and NU. Even UE, Adamson and UP will be stronger next year. Some of the teams will be parading promising imports as well,” added Racela.
But the Tamaraws appear to still be formidable in Season 76 as Mythical Team member Terrence Romeo and Smart Gilas cadet candidate RR Garcia are still around, along with Mike Tolomia, Anthony Hargrove, Carl Cruz and Russell Escoto. A welcome addition is reigning UAAP back-to-back MVP Jerie Pingoy, who has committed to stay in FEU after leading the Baby Tams to the high school division crown this year.
“FEU is known to produce very good guards like Johnny Abbarientos, Mark Barroca, Jonas Villanueva, Celino Cruz and many more. This present team also has several excellent guards. I really look forward to working with RR, Terrence and Mike, who are all outstanding guards. And if indeed Jerie stays with FEU, I will have a very deep rotation in the backcourt. I’ve coached Jerie in the youth team and he is a pleasure to have on the team.”
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