SAN Mig Coffee sophomore playmaker Andy Mark Barroca knows the recent addition of Olsen Racela to the Mixers’ coaching staff augurs well for a team whose young backcourt is still trying to gain the needed experience in the PBA.
“Magaling kasi si coach Olsen makipag-communicate sa teammates niya nung naglalaro pa siya. At tingin ko, yun din ang strength niya ngayon as a coach. Kaya niya i-communicate ng maayos ang isang bagay sa mga players,” Barroca told Spin.ph on Friday.
On Tuesday, San Miguel Corp. management plucked Racela out of his two-conference old head coaching position at Petron, moving him instead to San Mig Coffee to become one of Tim Cone’s assistants in a stunning coaching rigodon within the SMC-owned teams.
Long-time Petron deputy Gee Abanilla took over the head coaching post of the Boosters, while former San Mig assistant Koy Banal and newly-minted ABL champion mentor Leo Austria were named part of Petron’s coaching staff.
With Racela around, Barroca hopes to learn more from the 41-year-old rookie coach, whose 18-year pro career included eight league championships with Purefoods and San Miguel/Petron combined.
“Noon pa kasi, leadership niya na ang nakikita ko. Kaya niyang dalhin ang team niya since team captain siya before,” noted the 27-year-old former Smart Gilas backup guard.
Since Josh Urbiztondo and Jonas Villanueva were dealt away by San Mig Coffee, the burden to man the backcourt has been left on the shoulders of Barroca and Fil-Am rookie Alex Mallari.
Barroca saw his minutes improve from 17.4 during his rookie year to 29.1 in the first two conferences this season, eventually resulting to career-highs in scoring (9.0 ppg), rebounds (3.5), assists (3.5), and steals (1.4).