FAR Eastern University sees Johnny Abarrientos and his fellow assistant coaches as integral parts of the Tamaraws' success, believing the time will come when he takes over the school's varsity program.
The school has picked Olsen Racela to take over as Tamaraws head coach from younger brother Nash while retaining the current crew of assistants led by former FEU star Abarrientos.
FEU athletic director Mark Molina noted that Josh Reyes, Eric Gonzales, Gilbert Lao and Abarrientos were also considered for the job vacated by Nash Racela before it picked Olsen, a former PBA star who had head-coaching stints at Petron (now San Miguel) and the Philippine youth team.
“Yes, of course. Our assistants were considered,” Molina told SPIN.ph.
“I believe Johnny’s time will come. Our intention is to retain everybody. We will talk to them individually,” Molina added.
Until Olsen Racela's appointment became public, there has been a strong clamor, including from SPIN.ph readers, for Abarrientos to become the next head coach of a school he led to the 1991 UAAP championship in tandem with Vic Pablo.
Racela is from Ateneo.
“Expected naman ‘yun,” said Molina, when asked about the clamor. “Sa amin naman, Johnny has always been loyal to FEU.”
Molina said Abarrientos was the first one to be informed when management decided to hire Olsen Racela.
“It was done properly. We talked to him. In fact, si Johnny ang unang nakaalam na management appointed Olsen,” Molina said.
Molina said the school felt Olsen, although was not part of the Tamaraws coaching staff, was the right man for the job as he has the traits that Nash had that management wants to keep with the Tamaraws.
“We want a lot of things that coach Nash did with FEU to be continued including retaining the coaching staff. We are also talking about the winning culture, players going to classes, being gentlemen, and other things related off the court. Those were the things that Nash was good at.
“We feel that Olsen and Nash, hindi dahil magkapatid sila, they possess the same values in that regard. We thought na he will be the best to be able to do that,” said Molina.
Molina said FEU is giving Olsen a free hand when it comes to the system to be put in place.
“From the basketball point of view, I know they are different coaches. I’m sure Coach Olsen will do things that are different from Coach Nash. That’s up to him,” said Molina.
Molina said FEU’s desire to have Nash play an active role in the team was also a deciding factor in picking Olsen. He said FEU will still have Nash around as a consultant to guide Olsen along the way.
“I don’t expect him (Nash) to be there everyday kasi nasa TNT siya. His job is more focused on TNT. Maybe he will be there, I guess pag-uusapan nila ni Olsen more to provide guidance to be there para at least, ‘yung mga players na naging close to him, they will still be around," he said.
"Pagdating ng UAAP, offseason na rin ng PBA, maybe at that point, he can be active in practice,” added Molina.