FEU coach Nash Racela says Fil-Kiwi rookie Joseph Nunag has potential to be next Mike Tolomia
Joseph Nunag runs the break for the FEU Tamaraws. Jaime T. Campos

FAR Eastern University has high hopes for Fil-New Zealander recruit Joseph Nunag, who could turn out to be the top guard of the Tamaraws in the near future.

This early, FEU coach Nash Racela sees similarities between the 19-year-old Nunag to the play of a former Tamaraws star who graduated with a UAAP title in Season 78.

“We see him as a future Tolomia,” said Racela, referring to Mike Tolomia, who recently finished his collegiate eligibility with FEU. “The way he attacks the basket and finishes.”

When told about Racela’s comparison, Nunag was surprised, but said he would want to play the same caliber as Tolomia eventually.

“I haven’t heard anything like that but it would be nice. I want to be that kind of player,” he said.

A 5-foot-11 guard, Nunag went to Rangitoto College in New Zealand and came to Manila last June where he was part of FEU’s Team B.

Racela, however, made it clear it will still take time before Nunag can be of the same caliber as Tolomia.

“Kulang pa sa laro, aside from the basketball age, he is very young. They are really young kids who have really good potential,” said Racela.

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Nunag, one of two Fil-New Zealanders in the team that includes Kenneth Tuffin, said he made the jump to play in the Philippines and start a basketball career here after receiving no offers to his initial target of playing in the US.

But he's fully satisfied in learning under coach Racela, who led the Tamaraws to the UAAP crown last season.

“I want to pursue a basketball career. I’ve always wanted that. Originally, I want to go to the States but I ended up not getting offers so I came here,” said Nunag.

“I like the culture that coach Nash is building,” he added. “He bases the system with the team and not on a single star player. That’s the kind of culture that I want to be around.”

However, Nunag admitted that he and the remaining players have big shoes to fill after FEU lost its core of stars who have played out their UAAP eligibility. He hopes the Filoil tournament will allow them to improve and develop further as a team.

“I wouldn’t necessary say pressure. It gives me a chance to step in, improve, and work on things that I’m missing. We lost six players so it’s big shoes to fill. We have a lot to work on to fill those shoes,” Nunag said.

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