AFTER a disappointing season, Far Eastern University found two big reasons to celebrate on Monday as the perennial UAAP power got firm commitments from coach Nash Racela and celebrated junior Jerie Pingoy.
Racela has formally agreed to take over from Bert Flores beginning on November 1, becoming the first non-FEU alumnus since Koy Banal in the early 2000s to coach the multi-titled Tamaraws.
The younger brother of Petron coach Olsen is currently the head coach of the Fruitas Shakers in the PBA D-League and an assistant for Talk ‘N Text, leading the Texters to a win in their first game of the season while head coach Norman Black wrapped up his commitments with Ateneo in the UAAP.
He now takes over a talented Tamaraws squad that missed the Final Four despite a 9-5 record last season, but just got deeper with the news that Baby Tamaraws star Pingoy, a two-time MVP of the UAAP juniors tournament, has signed an agreement to suit up for FEU's seniors squad next season.
FEU athletic director Mark Molina confirmed Pingoy's signing on Twitter. “Pingoy has signed an agreement to play with FEU srs,” he tweeted on his account @marqmolina.
The 17-year-old scoring machine, one of the most sought-after players in the juniors ranks, is expected to make a big impact on a team that was a big letdown last season despite having 2010 MVP RR Garcia and Mythical Five member Terrence Romeo in the roster.
Even before signing on the dotted line, Pingoy had already expressed his intention to stay with the Tamaraws after FEU-Diliman won the UAAP juniors basketball crown by beating National University in the finals.
“Gusto ko talaga FEU din. Kasi loyalty,” said Pingoy, who led the Baby Tamaraws to their first juniors crown since Johnny Abarrientos' days with the side in the late eighties.
Racela, on the other hand, will be taking over a job traditionally given to former Tamaraws, including the last two to take the job - Glen Capacio and Flores.