After flat start to year, coach Nash Racela begins to question TNT Katropa's desire
“I think it’s a question of desire,” says TNT coach Nash Racela. Jerome Ascano 

TNT KaTropa coach Nash Racela felt his team’s effort left something to be desired in the 88-77 loss to Star in their PBA Philippine Cup matchup on Sunday night.

The young Texters mentor specifically questioned their effort early on when they fell into a huge double-digit hole, which grew to 19 points, 59-40, early in the third quarter.

Only then did they buckle down to work as the Texters managed to pull to within seven points late in the payoff period before the Hotshots held on.

“I think it’s a question of desire,” Racela said. “They should be the ones answering that. Sila naman talaga yung naglalaro. As a coach, we just try to encourage them and remind them.”

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No less than Jayson Castro admitted the lack of effort as the Texters dropped a second straight assignment to fall to an even 4-4 win-loss record.

“Siguro yung mga second-chance points tsaka mga offensive rebounds, parang lahat yun, nawala yung effort namin, isa na ako ‘dun,” the TNT superstar said as the Hotshots had more second-chance points (18-8) and offensive boards (15-12) than the Texters had.

Racela, though, is not taking anything away from Star, which limited them to their lowest output this conference so far.

“It was also tough playing against Star. They had different schemes against us,” Racela said. “They made it hard for us to execute offensively.”

“I think it was the same thing for them,” he was quick to add. “We limited them to just thirty-two points in the second half. So, again, the challenge for us is paano gagawin yung ganun sa first half, not put ourselves sa medyo alanganin. If we play like that for forty-eight minutes, then it gives us a good chance at the end.”

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos