FAR Eastern University coach Nash Racela turns 45 on Wednesday, November 30, the holiday that formerly was National Heroes Day where his nickname was derived from.
And the birthday boy only wants one wish, a fitting swan song to his stint with the Tamaraws.
The Tamaraws will look to extend their season in the do-or-die match against the Ateneo Blue Eagles on Wednesday for the right to face La Salle in the finals.
A loss could mean Racela’s last game as coach of the Tamaraws as he is set to move to the PBA to take over TNT KaTropa.
But the mentor isn’t looking too far ahead.
“Pinapaalis mo na ako ah,” said Racela as he jokingly responded to a reporter after being told that he extended his stint with FEU via its win over Ateneo last Saturday.
Racela has eluded questions regarding his move to TNT all season long in the UAAP as he insisted that his focus is on his ongoing campaign with the Tamaraws, which got extended following their victory over Ateneo, 62-61, last Saturday.
They meet the Blue Eagles one more time in a rubber match set Wednesday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum. The winner takes on Green Archers in the best-of-three championship series.
Racela, however, admitted he doesn’t want to leave FEU with a loss.
“Actually, it’s a motivation for me. It’s hard to leave FEU. Never wanted to be that game (last Saturday) to be my last,” said Racela.
It will certainly be hard to leave the FEU program he helped reform from being mired in nasty rumors to a consistent title contender and even a championship winning team last season.
It is no longer a surprise that, on the week FEU is battling in the Final Four, most of the players from the FEU program led by Mac Belo, Roger Pogoy, and Carl Bryan Cruz have been making waves early in their PBA careers.
The PBA now awaits Racela, but the Tams coach insisted his mission with FEU is far from done.
“I want to focus on the playoffs sa FEU,” Racela said.