NASH Racela will have to wait for a few games before finally making his head-coaching debut in the PBA Philippine Cup.
With the UAAP Final Four underway this week, Racela has no choice but to set aside hit coaching duties when TNT Katropa makes its season debut this Wednesday against Rain or Shine.
The 44-year-old mentor also serves as head coach of Far Eastern University, which faces No. 2 seed Ateneo in the other half of the college league’s semifinal pairing to be played on Saturday (November 26).
As per PBA ruling, league coaches are prohibited from handling a pro ballclub and a college team at the same time.
A TNT insider confirmed to SPIN.ph on Monday that the franchise is abiding by the rule by allowing lead deputy coach Josh Reyes to temporarily handle the team until the 79th season of the UAAP is over.
“Josh will be on board until FEU’s UAAP campaign ends,” said the source, who refused to be named in the absence of a formal team statement on the issue.
But the same insider said Racela will likely still join the Texters on the sidelines or behind the team bench.
“He’ll probably just give reminders or suggestions to Josh. Kabisado na rin naman nila ang isa’t-isa,” added the source, pointing out the two had been longtime assistants at TNT Katropa. Reyes also serves as one of Racela’s deputies at FEU.
As the third seeded team, the Tamaraws need to beat the Blue Eagles twice in a row in their bid to make the finals for the third straight season.
A win by FEU on Saturday will forge a do-or-die encounter against Ateneo on Wednesday (November 30).
TNT Katropa’s next game after Rain or Shine is set Sunday against the debuting Barangay Ginebra.
In the event the Tamaraws advance to the best-of-three title series, Racela will be forced to miss two more games of the Texters against Blackwater (December 2) and Meralco (December 9).
Game One of the UAAP Finals is scheduled on December 3, followed by Game Two on December 7. Game Three, if necessary, is set for December 10.