On the heels of his sacking, former Blackwater coach Nash Racela underscored one thing that is often glossed over in basketball: That coaching is just a cog in the machine.
“I know that I, together with the staff, did our very best despite the obvious limitations that we had. Those who understand basketball for sure knows that coaching is just one part of the equation,” he told the Inquirer through a message on Monday night.
“Player composition and management style play a major part in the success of any team–especially in the [Philippine Basketball Association],” he went on.
Racela was removed from his post on Sunday following the Bossing’s abysmal campaign in the 2021 Philippine Cup.
The club lost all of its games to go with the eight-game skid it suffered in last year’s bubble games in Clark for a total of 19 games—the longest dry spell in the PBA’s nearly half-a-decade history.
In an earlier interview with the Inquirer, Racela rued having to rebuild from scratch again. Despite their losing record in the bubble, the club had plenty to look forward to for the 46th season: a fully-recovered Mac Belo, a team who has gotten accustomed to Racela’s style of play, and a tightly-knit squad who has adjusted playing with each other—all of which broken up by pre-season moves.
In that same interview, Racela also imagined how different things would’ve been had Blackwater kept certain capable players.
“It’s really hard to focus on the past. If we go back to Belo, we also go back to [Don] Trollano, [Poy] Erram, and [Abu] Tratter,” he said.
“We list everyone else and we’d probably have a very, very competitive roster—that if you require us to be in the Final Four, that task would’ve sounded doable. But now, it’s hard.”
Racela had to integrate seven new faces into his system this year and that is quite a task in the middle of a pandemic.
But as the soft-spoken mentor said, he made do with what he had.
Blackwater, for its part, once in a while managed to avoid looking out of place during the tournament. That was evident in its last game against Meralco where the Bossing slashed the Bolts’ 29-point lead to just five before sputtering down the stretch.
Racela said he was not notified of the coaching change, but expressed his understanding of the swiftness of the move.
“I understand the frustration and I’m aware that they have the right to do what they think is best for their franchise,” he said.
“I’m still thankful to the management for the opportunity this last two years,” he added.
Dioceldo Sy, the team’s owner, expressed his disappointment over his team’s performance, even taking part of the blame.
“it’s a debacle like the pandemic. I’m sorry to all Blackwater fans, as I’m focused last year and a half running our business. It’s been a challenging business environment,” he told the Inquirer on Sunday.
“[I] will be more hands-on in this (next) conference,” he added.
Racela also threw his support for Ariel Vanguardia, the team’s alternate governor who will take his place on an interim basis.
“I seriously hope they start turning things around under Coach Ariel, for they will be good for the balance of the league,” he said.
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