Coach Nash Racela of reigning UAAP men’s basketball champion Far Eastern U earned a pair of key chips to keep the Tamaraws’ future bright and he has his good, ol’ brother Olsen to thank for.
Former top high school standouts Arvin Tolentino and Hubert Cani—pending the approval of their documents—have decided to take their talents to FEU after failing to meet Ateneo’s academic cut for the UAAP Season 79 men’s cage wars that unfold starting in September.
Tolentino and Cani, who struggled to make an impact for the Blue Eagles last season, are eager to gain a fresh start with the Tamaraws but both will need to undergo a one-year residency before seeing action anew in the UAAP next year.
While he’s pleased to have Tolentino and Cani in the fold, Nash Racela readily admitted how crucial the role his brother Olsen played during the negotiation process that went fairly smooth from the beginning.
“Hindi naman naging mahirap ‘yung pag-uusap namin and actually ang naging key dito si coach Olsen,” shared Nash, 44, just a year younger than Olsen, to FOX Sports, referring to his brother who handled Tolentino and Cani during the Energen-backed RP Youth Team which finished fourth overall during the FIBA Asia U-16 cage tilt in Nha Trang, Vietnam in 2011.
“I think one of the major reasons why they chose FEU is because we have relationships with them before in the (RP) Youth program under Energen and that’s with coach Olsen,” he added.
Nash also shared Tolentino and Cani were in constant communication with Olsen since they felt they won’t be able to meet Ateneo’s QPI mark for its student-athletes, something that former top recruits CJ Perez and Jerie Pingoy failed to do so.
“Nu’ng nagkaroon na sila ng problema sa Ateneo, it was Olsen whom they first texted and consulted. Siyempre si coach Olsen, being their former coach and mentor, asked them what he can do to help them. Doon nag-start ng lahat ng ‘yun,” shared Nash.
Although he was calling the shots for Gilas cadets during their impressive title-retention bid in SEABA Cup in Bangkok, Thailand late last month, Nash was already been informed of the development but he, along with the top FEU officials, gave Tolentino and Cani time to settle things first with Ateneo.
“Gusto namin klaro muna sila sa Ateneo. Kami naman, we just went through the process na hindi namin sila minamadali,” he said, adding the transfer of Tolentino and Cani won’t be official until they have enrolled starting this academic year.
“Andu’n kami sa process ng pag-check ng documents. It will become official once they are enrolled. Sa pagkakaalam ko, they have already chose FEU,” Nash concluded. – By Jerome Lagunzad
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