IS the Nash Racela-Blackwater chapter finally a closed book?
The two parties finally got to say their piece before officially parting ways following a two-season partnership that fell short of expectations.
Racela met with Blackwater team governor Siliman Sy and talked more about the franchise moving forward rather than delve on what went wrong in a campaign that saw the Bossing set a dubious record with a 19-game losing streak.
The soft-spoken coach refused to give details on his Thursday meeting with Sy, younger brother of team owner Dioceldo, deferring to the Blackwater executive.
Sy said the first order of business was to honor the remainder of Racela’s contract that runs until the end of this season.
“Yes, we agreed on the closure of his contract with Blackwater,” he said.
Racela also gave his insights on the team, pointing to what he considered as ‘small victories’ during the darkest period of the franchise.
He mentioned the games of big men Kelly Nabong and rookie Andre Paras, along with the returning Carl Bryan Cruz as among the encouraging signs the Bossing could look forward to.
Nabong, Paras a surprise
“I’m sure other people are surprised with the way he’s playing now, he’s more controlled, and he has been contributing,” he said of the 32-year-old Nabong, who was acquired by the Bossing from the free agent market during the off season.
“Yung makalaro siya ng maayos because that’s the way towards him reaching his full potential. Maybe you don’t see it right now, but if he continues to play that way, at least Blackwater could depend on him in the future.”
As for Paras, a third-round pick by the team at No. 27 in the recent draft, Racela said the rookie definitely earned his playing minutes with the Bossing.
“Slowly, he’s giving us contributions,” he said of the son of former PBA Rookie-MVP Benjie Paras.
Cruz, a protégé of Racela while still coaching the Far Eastern University Tamaraws in the UAAP, made his way back into the active roster and played again after a two-year inactivity due to a torn meniscus injury.
“So if you look at the near future, ok din naman yun sa franchise,” said the former Blackwater coach, who has since been replaced in an interim capacity by Ariel Vanguardia.
Sy agreed with Racela.
“Hopefully, these good traits will be carried over for the betterment of the team,” he said.
As they parted ways, both Sy and Racela wished each other well.
“We shook hands and parted as friends in this small world of basketball,” said the Blackwater official.