FAR Eastern University coach Olsen Racela is proud to see his players spread their wings elsewhere with the UAAP competitions still on hold.
Ken Tuffin, the Tamaraws' team captain in UAAP Season 82, and fellow Fil-Kiwi Joseph Nunag have opted to remain in the New Zealand National Basketball League (NZ NBL), while pesky defender Alec Stockton entered the PBA draft.
Although their departures hit FEU hard, Racela is thrilled to see Tuffin and Co. move on to new chapters in their basketball careers.
"We're extremely proud of our players," he told SPIN.ph. "It’s reassuring to know that they’re safe and are continuing the process of chasing their dreams. We wish them nothing but the best."
There's no denying that the COVID-19 pandemic has seen major changes in FEU's roster.
After their fourth-place finish in UAAP Season 82, the Tamaraws expected to lose only seniors Barkley Ebona, Wendell Comboy, and Hubert Cani but ended up losing Tuffin, Nunag, and Stockton as well.
Tuffin, a 6-foot-4 shooter, signed with the Wellington Saints, while the 6-foot-2 Nunag inked a deal with the Franklin Bulls.
Stockton, on the other hand, was picked by Alaska in the second round, 21st overall, and is set to sign his rookie deal once the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) is lifted in the NCR-plus bubble.
Nevertheless, Racela is happy to have guided these players in their time in Morayta and is looking forward to their continued development.
"KT will be playing the wing position full-time so that's great for his development. The competition will help Joseph a lot as he gains more experience," the concurrent Barangay Ginebra assistant coach said.
"Their NZNBL exposure will be a good preparation for them if and when they decide to join the PBA draft. I'm also excited for Alec cause he'll be a good addition in Alaska," he added.