Nash Racela cannot wait to go up against his older brother Olsen again now that he has returned to the PBA.
The former TNT head coach is back in the pro ranks after his appointment as the new chief tactician of Blackwater last November.
“I’m looking forward to the time that we coach again against each other,” Nash told Tiebreaker Vodcasts’ Coaches Unfiltered, presented by SMART and supported by Mighty Sports and Choi Garden.
Long before he became TNT’s head coach, Nash was an assistant of Chot Reyes, who arrived to the team in 2008.
On the other hand, Olsen — who ended his illustrious career in 2011 — was named the head coach of Petron Blaze in 2012-13.He would then work as an assistant of Cone — his coach in the Philippine Centennial Team — in San Mig Coffee and now at the Barangay.
Nash then manned the sidelines of the KaTropa from 2016-18. That stint featured some memorable battles, including against Olsen, one of Tim Cone’s deputies in Ginebra.
In the five conferences he coached the flagship MVP franchise, he faced Olsen and the Gin Kings twice in the playoffs.
First was in the 2017 Commissioner’s Cup, when TNT — reinforced by Joshua Smith — ousted Justin Brownlee and Ginebra in the semis, 3-1. The older Racela then got even the following conference, when the Barangay took down the Texters in the Governors’ Cup semis — also in four games.
But of those playoff meetings, the second might be the one that left an indelible mark on their minds, as the rivalry of their mother teams reached fever pitch.
Nash got into a spat with Ginebra governor Alfrancis Chua while both teams were making their way into the dugout during the halftime break of Game Three
Still, for Nash, it’s always fun whenever he gets to coach against one of the PBA’s all-time greats, and it won’t change once they meet again.
“Masaya when we coach against each other,” shared the 48-year-old. “Kasi every time naglalaro kami, lagi akong nakasilip doon sa kabila eh.
“So, si Coach Olsen nakikita ko rin, every time Ginebra plays — let’s say TNT back then, ganon kami, silip kami nang silip sa isa’t isa … Most likely it will be the same scenario.”
In the past, though, it wasn’t that way. Olsen recalled a time that he and Nash got heated during a dinner after the game.
That happened when the long-time San Miguel star was still playing while Nash was already an assistant coach with Coca-Cola.
“I remember when I was still playing for San Miguel tapos si Nash with Coke. Normally we’ve had dinner after games eh,” Olsen recalled.
“Pero, I think, playoffs ‘yun. Nagkainitan kami during dinner and since then, hindi na kami nag-dinner after that, ‘yung after games.”
It didn’t take long, though, before the two saw themselves on the same team, with Nash coming to San Miguel as part of Reyes’ coaching staff.
Reyes took over the Beermen’s coaching reins from Jong Uichico, although his stint only lasted for a season as Siot Tanquingcen soon came in. Nash, though, remained for another season before eventually leaving, marking an end to their two-year partnership at the storied franchise.
“I was also very fortunate that for a short time, I was able to coach him also when I was with San Miguel,” he said.
The Racelas have seen each other on opposite sides of the court since.
When they are on opposing ends, their ever-supportive mom Mary Rose would just send her well-wishes, deliberately not going to the venue.
“Of course my mom really supports us; wherever we play, even out of town games, she would watch. But she made it a point that every time we would play each other, she will not watch para wala siyang kakampihan. Ganon ‘yung nangyari,” shared Olsen.
“She’s always very supportive, whether it’s UAAP or PBA.”
But over the past four years, the brothers have been working hand-in-hand again, as they are steering Far Eastern University’s men’s basketball program together.
Olsen was named the Tamaraws’ head coach in 2016 after Nash resigned from the post following his appointment in TNT, though he remains as the team consultant.
“Now that we’re in the same team with FEU, mas madalas na kami mag-usap about basketball, lalo na nung nag-coach na ako,” Olsen said.