Nash Racela had a straight face after the TNT Katropa’s 103-106 Game Three loss to the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel on Friday night, but he was the perfect embodiment of sarcasm when he responded to questions surrounding the tension-filled bout.
“Obviously, it was a perfectly-officiated ball game,” said the 45-year-old sardonically. “You can’t really question the obvious. The refs did their part, did their best, in calling the game. I think all the calls were really nice.
“They made the right decisions, I think. I don’t really question that and I’m happy our players in their best and gave ourselves a chance.”
But when he was asked about the spat between him and San Miguel Corporation sports director Alfrancis Chua that extended to the dugout at the half, the first-year pro coach did not delve into detail regarding what had really transpired.
“Gusto niyo malaman yung totoo? Baka ma-fine na naman ako pag nagsalita pa ako,” said Racela with a slight grin. “You all know me, I won’t start something. You all know me too well. And you all know the other guys too well.
“That’s all I can say.”
Racela and Chua’s verbal exchange started with 1:09 left in the second frame. And it resumed come the halftime break at the SMART Araneta Coliseum’s dugout. The two had to be separated to prevent things from going bad to worse.
— Justine Bacnis (@justinebacnis) October 6, 2017
The real reason has yet to be revealed. But judging from the game’s numbers, the Katropa have one big reason to complain about the loss: the disparity of free throws. TNT shot just 12-of-14, while Ginebra had gotten 30-of-43 freebies.
For Racela, he believes that the huge difference in foul shots was the result of TNT’s aggressiveness.
“We were also aggressive today. Glen Rice was aggressive in attacking the basket. I don’t know what Coach Tim [Cone] was talking about. Watch the game,” said the youthful mentor. “We all know why we got a lot of free throws last game, because they really fouled us.
“I don’t know, today, we really fouled them that, that’s why they got a lot of free throws. I think the next game, we will foul them a lot again and they’ll get a lot of free throws again,” added Racela.
“We just have to find ways.”
And at 11:03 in the evening, the first-year TNT head coach sent out this tweet.
— Nash Racela (@scwtN) October 6, 2017
Bonbon Batiller shows what he can bring to Letran in D-League debut
Tuesday proved to be a double debut for Bonbon Batiller. Aside from beginning his first foray in the PBA D-League, it also marked his debut for the Letran Knights, who is carrying the Wang’s Basketball Couriers franchise.
And the 5-foot-11 guard unleashed what he can bring to the table. Batiller collected 15 points, five rebounds, and three assists to help the Knights raise the curtains of their campaign with a 93-75 rout of Batangas-EAC Generals.
“Nagworkout yung pinagpraktisan namin,” said Batiller. “Nagbunga rin yung tinuro samin ni Coach Jeff (Napa) lalo sa depensa. Tsaka siguro sa rebounds — laking lamang namin sa rebound. Nagsipag mga bigs namin.”
But what makes him beam even more is the warm reception and trust he’s had from the Knights, even if he has spent barely a year with them after transferring from University of the East last 2017.
“Masaya po kasi tinanggap nila ako sa Letran ng buong-buo,” said Batiller, who normed 10.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.6 steals with UE in two years. “Tsaka yung tiwala nila na makakatulong ako sa team nandoon.
“Kaya masaya ako sa pinakita nila sa akin.”
That is why the General Santos-native is hard-pressed to prove himself to Letran, saying that he’s all about giving back to the school that gave him another opportunity to resume his young, up-and-coming basketball career.
“Kailangan kong may mapatunayan na deserving ako sa binigay na second chance sa akin ni Letran,” said Batiller, who decided to switch schools partly due to academic reasons.
“Malaki ang utang ko sa Letran.”
Tireless J-Jay Alejandro heads from D-League game to Gilas training
Former NU Bulldogs captain J-Jay Alejandro was at the Pasig Sports Center Monday afternoon, making his debut for the Go for Gold Scratchers. After their 75-68 win over Gamboa-St. Clare Coffee Lovers, he immediately packed his bags and headed for the exit.
Why was he in a rush? He did not want to be late for Gilas later on.
“Sayang, malapit na ako eh. Pasig lang. Walang showbiz-showbiz, malapit lang talaga,” shared Alejandro, who had five points, five rebounds, seven assists, and two steals for Go for Gold. “Wala rin akong gagawin kasi.
“Tsaka minsan lang magpa-tawag ng practice, every Monday lang, so sayang ‘yung chance makapag-practice.”
The 6-foot-2 combo guard was a much-needed body by the pool of Gilas as only eight players suited-up for Monday’s session. Besides helping out the seniors team, the 22-year-old is looking at the sessions as a way to not just improve but also get in touch with his former collegiate foes.
“Well, ganoon talaga eh. Player, mapapagod at mapapagod ka talaga,” said the All-UAAP team member.
“Pero nakakasama ko sila Arvin Tolentino, sila CJ Perez, tsaka ‘yung ibang mga PBA players, siyempre experience ‘yun eh, tsaka learning process din sa akin.”
Moreover, he knows that being under the tutelage of coach Chot Reyes will only do wonders for him, especially with the 2018 PBA Rookie Draft just months away.
“Mas pisikal talaga sa PBA. ‘Yun, kung paano mo gagamitin ang utak mo pati ‘yung katawan mo sa tamang posisyon sa laro, makukuha ko yun rito,” he said.
“Well sa akin kasi, ‘yung mapabilang ka sa Gilas, mapabilang lang ang pangalan mo sa Gilas, sobrang fortunate na ako, sobrang blessed na ako,” Alejandro added.
“And siguro sa akin, may opportunity na nag-open, so iga-grab ko na lang — either PBA or Gilas.”
Loaded Wangs-Letran wallops AMA in debut
Armed with new recruits, the Wangs Basketball-Letran Knights embarked on its new chapter with a rousing 93-75 rout of the AMA Online Education Titans, Tuesday afternoon at the Pasig Sports Center.
Everyone clicked for the Couriers with Bong Quinto spearheading the blowout with 19 points, 10 rebounds, and six assists.
Newcomer Bonbon Batiller added 15 markers, five boards, and three dimes in his debut, while starting point guard JP Calvo chipped in 12 points, eight rebounds, and two assists.
Christian Fajarito also registered 11 markers and nine boards, while Alex Mandreza had 10 points for Wangs-Letran.
Despite the promising showing, coach Jeff Napa said that he still wants to see more from his Couriers moving forward.
“Masaya kami syempre dahil nanalo. Pero marami pa rin kaming kailangang gawin,” he said as he wanted more from the Knights after outrebounding the Titans, 57-44.
Quinto and Calvo triggered Wangs-Letran’s second quarter pullaway to establish the 38-26, lead which grew to as high as 22 points, 81-59 in the payoff period.
Michael Cañete topscored AMA with 20 points and 11 rebounds, while Kris Porter had 13 in the defeat.
Wangs-Letran will have vengeance on their minds on Monday, January 29 when it takes on NCAA tormentors Che’lu- San Sebastian Revellers. AMA, on the other hand, will have a tough assignment when it takes on the Zark’s-Lyceum Jawbreakers on Thursday, January 25.
Wangs-Letran 93 — Quinto 19, Batiller 15, Calvo 12, Fajarito 11, Mandreza 10, Trinidad 8, Publico 6, Vacaro 4, Balagasay 3, Ambohot 3, Muyang 2.
AMA Online Education 75 — Cañete 20, Porter 13, Escalambre 11, Casiño 10, Antonares 6, Manalang 6, Garcia 4, Ng 3, Parcero 2, Bragais 0, Carpio 0, Paras 0, Raflores 0, Salonga 0.
Quarterscores: 16-13, 44-35, 67-52, 93-75.
Matt Nieto looks forward to learning from Jio Jalalon, Jayson Castro
When Matt Nieto made his way into the Meralco Gym on Monday evening, the 20-year-old quickly changed his clothes after receiving his Gilas jersey. And once he got dressed, the Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles’ floor general quickly went to work, as he wanted to absorb everything he can from the night’s session.
“Actually na-star struck ako. ‘Di ako makapaniwala na nandito ako eh,” expressed the six-foot point guard.
Playing and practicing with the players they idolized growing up has been a theme for almost all of the 23 for 2023 cadets. The same could be said about the wide-eyed Nieto, as he could not believe he was side-by-side with the present and the future of the game in Jayson Castro and Jiovani Jalalon.
“Nakita ko pa lang si idol Jiovani Jalalon, nakikita ko parang… di ako makapaniwala na sa isang practice magkasama kami.
“Sila Kiefer [Ravena], lalo na si Jalalon talaga at si Jayson Castro kasi talagang idol ko talaga sila eh. Napapasma nga ako nung una eh kasi parang baka akalain nila ‘sino ba to?’,” the one-time UAAP champion shared.
Nervous, Nieto tried to talk to Castro and Jalalon numerous times during the practice. The two did not turn, welcoming the young buck with open arms.
“Nung nakausap ko na sila medyo na ano na kasi hindi lang sila magaling, sobrang bait pa nila. Madali akong naka-adjust kaagad dito,” he beamed.
Coach Chot Reyes has high expectations with Nieto, as he is being groomed as one of the leaders for the 2023 team. Still, he knows that there is still a long way to go for him.
To become a better leader, the second-generation Blue Eagle knows who to reach out to.
“Gusto ko matuto kay Jayson pati kay Jiovani kasi same position kami. And of course yung leadership ni Kiefer, yung mentality na talagang laban kung laban.
“Gusto ko marami matutunan sa kanila kasi wala pa eh, wala pa ako sa peak ko. Sila andun na. So marami talaga akong matututunan sa kanila kasi sobrang galing nila at sobrang dami na nilang na-achieve sa kanilang basketball career,” Nieto gushed.
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