THE first thing Olsen Racela observed the moment he assumed the role as one of Tim Cone’s deputies was the need for the Mixers’ young backcourt to be more vocal and lead the way.
“They just have to be more vocal,” Racela said of the San Mig trio of Mark Barroca, and rookies Alex Mallari and Lester Alvarez.
“Nahalata ko ngayon di pa sila masyado vocal. Iyan ang sinasabi namin ni (fellow assistant coach) Johnny (Abarrientos) sa kanila. Sinusubukan naming ituro sa kanila `yun, be more vocal and be more of a leader,” said the former Petron head coach.
The 5-foot-10 Barroca is coming off an impressive performance in the Commissioner's Cup where he posted career-high averages of 8.5 points, 3.6 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 1.8 steals in 30.9 minutes of play.
It was the first full conference Barroca served as San Mig’s starting point guard after the Mixers decided to part ways with Josh Urbiztondo and Jonas Villanueva.
Racela said the lack of experience may be showing this season for the Mixers’ young backcourt men, but given enough time, they could gain more confidence as they play more games together.
“Malaki ang potential nila. They just need more experience and get used to what they are doing since bago kasi sila,” noted the 42-year-old Racela, who during his playing years was among the best point guards in the pro league.
According to Racela, he himself needs more input from Cone, the reason why he has been on an observer mode since the Mixers began practicing last week.
“More of observe lang ako for the first few weeks though I have a grasp of the triangle (offense) kasi yun din ang tinakbo namin before with (Philippine) Centennial team," said Racela, a member of the Cone-led Philippine team that won a bronze medal in the 1998 Asian Games in Beijing.
"So kailangan lang ma-refresh sa triangle and how they are running things in practice,” he added.
The former Ateneo Blue Eagle owns a 14-17 (win-loss) record overall as Petron coach the last two conferences of the season. He has since been transferred to the Mixers as part of the massive coaching movement of coaches wiothin the San Mig Corporation-owned ball clubs.