Nash Racela assures FEU of 'total commitment' despite looming takeover of TNT
FEU officials say they won't stand in the way of Nash Racela's looming takeover of the TNT Katropa coaching job in the PBA. Jaime Campos

FAR Eastern University insisted Nash Racela's imminent takeover of the head-coaching job at Tropang TNT is not a distraction for the Tamaraws' title defense in the UAAP Season 79 men's basketball tournament.

The Tamaraws face University of the Philippines at 2 p.m. on Saturday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum with an eye on extending their six-game winning streak.

But FEU, holding second spot with a 7-2 win-loss slate, has had to deal with the news that Racela has been picked to replace Jong Uichico as head coach of TNT in the PBA starting next season.

FEU athletic director Mark Molina said Racela has talked to the team about it and made it clear his commitment is to the Tamaraws this season. 

“Kinausap naman ni Coach Nash ‘yung team na (sinabi) he is committed to FEU. Siyempre, yung next year hindi pa natin alam. Our focus is this year. Na-address naman ni Nash ‘yun para walang impact,” said Molina.

[See Uichico running TNT practice when news breaks of Nash Racela takeover]

Molina, however, made it clear FEU will not stand in the way of Racela's move, saying a chance to coach a PBA team is a good opportunity for the young mentor.

“FEU will understand. Once in a lifetime na maging coach ng Talk ‘N Text if there is an opportunity,” said Molina.

On the other hand, the Maroons are eager to bounce back from their 78-72 loss to La Salle last October 15 that snapped their two-game winning run.

UP is also seeking to improve its Final Four chances. The Maroons are currently in joint sixth place with University of Santo Tomas at 3-7.

In the second game, Adamson looks to snap a two-game losing skid when it takes on University of the East at 4 p.m.

The Falcons have not won in the second round, their most recent loss coming against UP, 70-66, last October 12.

Adamson, in fourth place with a 4-4 win-loss card, is also looking to avenge its 64-57 loss to UE in the first round.

The Red Warriors are coming off a defeat against Ateneo to drop to the cellar at 2-7.

[See Jett Manuel stays grounded despite unlikely Final Four chase for UP Maroons]

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