Basketball

Who’s the coach? Racela OK sharing Petron bench with Toroman

AKTV/Paolo Papa

Petron Blaze coach Olsen Racela was a vocal leader on the court during his 17-year career, but even he admits that he needs help on the bench.

“Everything was new to me. Yes, I’ve been an assistant coach at Petron, but I’m always behind the scenes,” said Racela, who coached the Energen Pilipinas youth team before being appointed to helm Petron.

“I had my experience coaching the national team, but the PBA is bigger. You’re on the hot seat.”

This is why Racela doesn’t have any problem with the increased presence of team consultant Rajko Toroman on the bench. In Racela’s coaching debut, Toroman was just as active on the sidelines — calling plays, sending players into the game, and even calling timeouts.

In at least one huddle, Toroman took the coaches’ whiteboard and drew up a play for the Boosters, who lost 102-86 in their opening match against Rain or Shine.

“I’m a team player. I understand the situation and the entire team knows the situation as well,” said Racela.

Toroman said there’s no issue between him and Racela.

“We’re designated to help each other out. If people are trying to make a problem involving me and Olsen, then there’s nothing I can do about that. But there’s no problem between us,” said Toroman.

“We both wanted to win and help make the team better.”

Petron team manager Hector Calma said the coaching situation has the blessing of management.

“There’s no specific roles as to who will be the offensive coach or defensive coach between the two, but they’re there to help each other out,” said Calma.

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