BLACKWATER coach Nash Racela has his work cut out for him in the coming season.
With almost half of his players having expired contracts and no first round pick in the coming rookie draft, all Racela could do right now is keep his fingers crossed while awaiting various developments.
“Subok lang ng subok,”Racela told Malaya-Business Insight yesterday.
Pinag-aaralan, matyag muna,” added Racela. “Kasi depende kung may makuha kaming maganda sa draft, depende also on other teams releasing a lot of players kasi nga magkakaroon sila ng mga bago. Hopefully, maka-pick up kami (from free agency).”
As of now, Blackwater’s options are indeed severely limited.
By Racela’s reckoning, only Mac Belo, Don Trollano, Ed Daquioag, Mike Tolomia, Roi Sumang, Maurice Shaw, Richard Escoto and Paul Desiderio are left from the Elite team that won only two games and finished 10th in the last Philippine Cup bubble.
That largely explains why Racela at present could not plot an immediate course, which is his players’ return to practice he has initially set to start next week.
“Hindi pa natin alam kung ano’ng klaseng practice ang i-a-allow, kung small groups or 5-on-5,” explained Racela. “Kung iyung huli papayagan na, we cannot do that dahil nga kulang pa kami sa players.”
Throw in the fact Blackwater only gets to pick starting in the second round, where it has the rights to the 13th and 14th picks overall.
“Lahat naman in anticipation of the draft,” noted Racela. “Sa amin lang kasi, medyo malayo kami kasi wala kaming first round. Ang earliest namin would be the 13th pick. So we’re hoping na sana lumalim iyung draft so that hopefully makakuha pa rin kami ng two quality picks.”
The season 46 draft is set on March 14 while the start of the season is set on April 9, offering little comfort to Racela.
“That leaves you just a few weeks before the start so medyo mahirap i-build ýung team chemistry, unless settled na iyong team mo and kukuha ka lang ng isa, dalawa sa draft,” he pointed out.
Another team that has no first round pick is TNT, but the likes of Ginebra, San Miguel Beer and Magnolia have first round picks, leaving Racela just short of turning green with envy.
“Mahihirapan talagang lumaban ngayon,” he admitted. “Iyung iba maganda na lineups, nasa kanila pa first round picks.”