Nash Racela urges TNT to get back to basics: 'Start playing like college players again'
Nash Racela's coaching debut with TnT Katropa ended up in a loss to Meralco. Jerome Ascano

TNT KaTropa coach Nash Racela urged his team to simply get back to basics as he took over a powerhouse team that is trying to regain lost glory in the PBA.

The longtime TNT assistant made his official pro debut on the wrong foot as the Texters bowed to Meralco, 98-87, in their Philippine Cup matchup on Friday night.

And Racela felt the loss underlined what’s wrong with his team, which saw its two-game winning streak snapped after falling to an even 2-2 win-loss slate.

“Yung mga changes, it’s not so much on the basketball side, Xs and Os, that we want to apply,” Racela said. “It’s more on the mentality, attitude na kailangan namin baguhin.”

“I told them you need to start playing like college players again,” he added.

The 45-year-old mentor even feels that he is undergoing the same process he had when he first handled Far Eastern University a few years ago.

“I’m not sure if it’s surprising, but the process that I’m going through now is the same process I went through with my college players, college team,” Racela admitted. “The change na gusto kong gawin, ganun din.”

“I’m trying to be patient,” he was quick to add. “Importante is me starting to identify the mistakes and me calling out some players sa mga things they need to change and they need to improve on, so it’s starts with awareness and the next step is making things happen.”

Jayson Castro delivered as usual with 23 points, seven assists, and three boards in 29 minutes off the bench, while Kelly Williams added 19 and eight in 23 minutes, but no one else scored in twin digits.

As a result, the Texters lost to the same sister team that tormented them in the last Governors’ Cup semifinals, now even led by rookie Ed Daquioag.

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“Anybody could beat you if you don’t do your part,” Racela said.

“Panoorin niyo yung sinabi ni Popovich about the Spurs after their loss,” he added, referring to San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich ripping his team for basically lacking effort after suffering their first road loss of the NBA season earlier in the day. “It’s the same with us. Tingin ko hindi lang namin nagawa yung trabaho namin.”

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos