BLACKWATER Elite may be one of the youngest teams in the PBA, but it is here to stay — and win championships.
Blackwater coach Nash Racela hopes to achieve the goal in the next few years.
For now, Blackwater is focused on doing well once the pandemic-disrupted 2020 PBA season resumes this October.
“We’re really looking forward to be able to compete in the coming PBA tournament. We want to be consistent, especially when we play against the elite teams in the league,” said Racela during the 9th “Usapang Sports on Air” by the Tabloids Organization in Philippine Sports (TOPS) via Zoom yesterday.
“In time, we are hoping madikitan namin yung mga malalakas na teams na ito na nasa itaas. Ang gusto namin yun makipag-sabayan kami sa kanila.”
Racela, however, stopped short of saying the team’s chances of winning the championship right away.
“As a coach, I don’t usually promise championships. I don’t really know if it’s good or bad. We just have to control what we can control, like how to make the team competitive. Winning will come later. What I can assure is yun effort na ibibigay namin every game,” explained Racela.
Racela said he is satisfied with the composition of his team, although the real test will only come when the games will finally begin.
“Unti-unti nabubuo na yun team namin. We drafted a couple of really good players na sa tingin ko makakatulong sa team. Konting training pa para makita yung improvement nila. But of course, the only way to see kung talagang may may improvement na ang team is by playing,” said Racela.
Racela also hopes his new players will be able to adjust well in the Blackwater system as early as possible.
“When I was a coach in college, I realized na iba-iba yung stage ng development ng mga players. May ibang players makakapag perform right away. Yun iba naman, it takes time. Yun ang trabaho namin as a coach. Yun mapabilis namin yun time na makapag-contribute agad ang mga players.”
Both Racela and Munez said they are excited to see the finally get started as soon as possible.
“Excited na kami lahat makapag-simula na uli ang PBA. Pati mga fans. Six months na tayo naghihintay, kaya nakatutuwa na malaman na may mga ganitong plano na pinag-uusapan,” said Munez during the weekly public service forum supported by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR).
On the financial aspect of holding its own bubble, Munez said: “We all know medyo magastos talaga ang magkaroon ng bubble gaya sa NBA. But as long as there is a plan by the PBA and the GAB (Games and Amusements Board), magagawan naman ng paraan yan mga gastos. Wala naman problema ang hindi naaayos.”
Racela admitted the contoversy involving Blackwater team owner Dioceldo Sy that resulted into a fine of P100,000 by the PBA caught the team by surprise.
But he claimed the whole team from the players to the coaching staff were able to turn it into something positive.
The initial reaction was nagulat talaga ang lahat. But naging positibo naman ang nangyari dahil nakita namin ang passion ni Bos Dioceldo, nakita namin kung gaano nya ka-mahal ang team. Pati yun commitment nya sa mga tao niya,” explained Racela.
Racela also said the unexpected break due to the pandemic also helped some players to recover
“In a way, nakatulong. We have some players na kailangan magpahinga before the pandemic. But it’s still a struggle even for them dahil kahit sa kanilang mga theraphy sessions, mahirap Lalo na sa travel restrictions,” explained Racela.
“We all have to adjust sa ganitong situation. Hindi madali dahil bago ito sa lahat sa atin. Even sa team and individual practice, iba pa din yun actual training. But we all have to adjust.”