Nash still con­fi­dent de­spite late prepa­ra­tion

Tempo - - Sports - By JEROME LA­GUN­ZAD

Games To­mor­row

4:15 p.m. – Kia vs Phoenix

7 p.m. – Alaska vs NLEX

Un­like most of its ri­vals in the up­com­ing 2017 PBA Gover­nors Cup, TNT is rac­ing against time in terms of prepa­ra­tions, with the KaTropa only get­ting them­selves reac­quainted with one an­other at the start of a three-day team-build­ing in Su­bic yes­ter­day.

How­ever, first-year men­tor Nash Racela is far from be­ing wor­ried, know­ing full well that the KaTropa can re­gain the sharp form that en­abled them to ad­vance to the mid-sea­son Com­mis­sion­ers Cup fi­nals be­fore they set out for an­other gru­el­ing grind start­ing against Kia Pi­canto next Fri­day.

“We’ll be hav­ing prac­tices here and more dis­cus­sions with all mem­bers of the team. We’ll try to know more about each one of us,” shared Racela in a phone in­ter­view.

Racela could also be try­ing to shake off some cobwebs af­ter be­ing out for at least a week fol­low­ing a scout­ing trip to the NBA Sum­mer League in Las Ve­gas, Ne­vada where he bumped into Barangay Gine­bra coun­ter­part Tim Cone and promis­ing Kia men­tor Chris Gav­ina.

For sure, Racela couldn’t wait any longer in whip­ping the KaTropa back into a re­lent­less unit with the help of wide-bod­ied Amer­i­can im­port Michael Craig who’s been in the coun­try for a month now.

Asked if the 6-foot-5 Craig, a for­mer team­mate of Star re­in­force­ment Ri­cardo Ratliffe in the Korean Bas­ket­ball League, could make a seam­less tran­si­tion into TNT’s sys­tem, Racela is keep­ing the cards close to his chest – like what he al­ways does.

“Makikita niyo na lang sa game,” he said be­fore burst­ing into laugh­ter.

Turn­ing se­ri­ous, Racela said: “He’s more of an out­side player but he can also play in­side. Back in Korea, he played the 4-spot. Pare­has pa rin na­man ‘yung magig­ing sis­tema ng team pero may kaunt­ing ad­just­ments na lang na­man kam­ing gagawin with Mike.”

And this early, Racela is al­ready brac­ing him­self for the worst-case sce­nario since the KaTropa could miss the ser­vices of star guard Jayson Cas­tro, for­ward Troy Rosario and vast­ly­im­prov­ing rookie RR Po­goy due to their na­tional team du­ties with Gi­las Pilip­inas next month.

“That’s our sit­u­a­tion like in the pre­vi­ous con­fer­ence. So we will have the same ap­proach. We ex­pect other guys to win games for us,” he stressed.

NASH Racela

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