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Olsen Racela said the opportunity to teach young players, rather than making up for his previous coaching stint in the pros, is what drove him to accept the position as coach of the Far Eastern University Tamaraws.
The former San Miguel Beermen star emerged as the surprise successor to his younger brother Nash, who became coach of the TNT KaTropa after leading the Tamaraws to the Final Four in each of his four seasons highlighted by a UAAP title in the 2015 season.
Olsen is making his first head coaching stint since 2013 when he handled the Petron Blaze Boosters (now San Miguel Beermen) for two conferences before he was replaced by Gee Abanilla.
“Well I’m not here to prove anything naman,” Racela said. “This is an opportunity for me to mentor young men, which is one of the things that brings me satisfaction.”
He is no stranger in handling youngsters, having coached the Energen Pilipinas in the 2011 FIBA Asia U-16 Championship in Nha Trang, Vietnam and the 2012 FIBA Asia U-18 Championship in Ulan Bator, Mongolia.
During his U-16 spell, Racela was able to coach the likes of current National University mainstays J-Jay Alejandro and Rev Diputado, La Salle’s Andrei Caracut and Prince Rivera, University of the Philippines’ Kyles Lao and Henry Asilum, Ateneo’s Isaac Go and Hubert Cani.
He was also able to coach in the U-16 Arvin Tolentino and Hubert Cani, two former Ateneo players who will be eligible to play for FEU next season after undergoing a one-year residency.
“I find fulfillment in coaching young players and that’s another opportunity I have in FEU,” he said. “Yun lang, I’m here to help these young men become better players, better students and better individuals.”
As far as his system goes, Olsen will try to put a mixture of his own plays, Nash’s dribble drive system and the defensive strategies he learned from Tim Cone, being a current assistant coach at Barangay Ginebra San Miguel.
“Coach Tim is a defensive coach so yun ganung mind ang dadalhin ko sa FEU,” Racela mentioned. “But like I said, from the recruits coming in next year to the coaching staff, wala nang kailangang baguhin masyado, kailangan lang akong pumasok. It’s a perfect situation for me.”