Photo by Czeasar Dancel/Rappler
MANILA, Philippines - Nash Racela is leaving the Philippines for Thailand Saturday, May 21 on a good note. His FEU Tamaraws took down the highly-rated Perpetual Help Altas on Friday, 62-57, in the Filoil Flying V Premier Cup. Almost immediately, his attention turn to his other hoops responsibility - defending the Southeast Asian Basketball Association (SEABA) Stankovic Cup in Bangkok.
The SEABA Cup will be held from May 22-28 in Bangkok, Thailand.
Racela, a Gilas assistant and head coach of the Gilas Cadets squad, pointed out the host country’s team as their major threat.
“They are out to win the crown,” succinctly pointed out the veteran coach, who last year piloted Far Eastern University to a UAAP Men’s Basketball championship.
Racela has been a part of many a coaching staff that have won titles, from Coca Cola and Talk ’N Text in the PBA to several iterations of the Philippine national team. “The game of basketball is growing all over the world. Even our neighbors whose national game is football is starting to get better at the sport.”
Racela noted that the Thais, with their Asean Basketball League veterans and their British head coach, Tim Lewis, who previously coached Raptors 905, an affiliate of the NBA Toronto Raptors team, went to the United States to train. “I think this is a welcome development,” said Racela of the Thais’ upgrade. “This improves the quality of the game and the competition. Other countries will also be forced to level up.”
Lewis is an experienced coach who has international experience. He was an assistant with the Bakersfield Jam in the NBA D-League, the head coach of the Great Britain U20 team and served as an assistant to its seniors national squad. “They will be more organized and receive better coaching,” added Racela.
The Thais will bank on their ABL veterans who play for Hi-tech Bangkok City — Attaporn Lertmlaiporn, Bundit Lakhan, Nakorn Jaisanuk, Patipan Klahan, and Sukhdave Ghogar.
The Philippine side on the other hand will find 6 veterans of its 2015 SEABA champions in uniform starting off with team captain Troy Rosario, Mac Belo, Almond Vosotros, Jiovani Jalalon, Kevin Ferrer and Russel Escoto. Making up the rest of the team are Raymar Jose, Mike Tolomia, Roger Pogoy, Ken Holmqvist, Von Pessumal, and Jonas Tibayan.
“We chose Troy to be the team captain because of his experience,” said Racela. “Imagine, he is already in the PBA but he is still willing to play. I should say that a lot of the players here are making personal sacrifices."
The top 2 finishers in the 5-nation tournament will advance to the 2016 FIBA Asia Challenge.
The Philippines opens its SEABA campaign against Malaysia on May 22 followed by a meeting with Singapore on May 24, Indonesia on May 24, and the host nation on May 26. The gold medal match it set for May 27.
The Philippines has won 7 SEABA cage titles. – Rappler.com