PERSISTENT rumors of a coaching switch swirl around him, but it was business as usual for Olsen Racela as he discussed with his staff and management the trade that sent Fil-Am gunner Jay Washington to Globalport in exchange for rookie Jason Deutchman and two future second-round picks.
“Trabaho lang,” Racela confided to Spin.ph.
In only his first season at the helm of Petron in the PBA, Racela has learned to live with the pressure and roll with the punches, especially when things go bad for his team.
“Ganun naman talaga kapag hindi maganda ang campaign, kaya may rumors,” said the former starting guard of the flagship franchise of San Miguel Corp.
Things have not gone well in Racela's first two conferences as Petron coach but Racela stands defiant, hanging on to the assurance of top SMC officials that there are no plans to replace him.
“Rumors lang naman iyan (coaching change) talaga. Nagkausap kami ni boss Noli (Eala) about that. And wala naman talaga,” added the 41-year-old Racela.
Aside from Eala, who is SMC sports director, the organization's head of basketball operations, Robert Non, has also come out to assure that there are no plans to replace Racela with Gee Abanilla after the latter was fired by De La Salle.
Still, the rumors refuse to die down.
At present, there are two names being linked to the Petron job - University of Santo Tomas coach Pido Jarencio, who is also one of Racela's assistants, and Leo Austria, who is on the verge of leading the San Miguel Beermen to a maiden ABL championship.
Racela, however, insists his biggest concern at this time is to find a versatile import to complement Petron’s talent-rich roster in the season-ending Governors Cup.
The team, he said, returns to practice on June 17 at the Acropolis gym.