Olsen Racela hoping to keep standouts of junior Perpetual Altas
NCAA

Olsen Racela hoping to keep standouts of streaking junior Perpetual Altas

By: - Sports Editor / @ftjochoaINQ
/ 05:10 AM February 25, 2024

Olsen Racela FEU Tamaraws UAAP

FILE–Former FEU coach Olsen Racela is now with Perpetual Altas in the NCAA. –UAAP PHOTO

Every time new University of Perpetual Help coach Olsen Racela checks on the school’s juniors team, he finds reason to be hopeful.

“We talk a lot about winning the right way and one of the ways to do that is to build your team from the ground up,” Racela told the Inquirer on Saturday. “You develop players from within.”

“Certainly, the first team you look at is always your juniors squad,” he added. “And the junior Altas are doing really good right now.”

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READ: NCAA: Olsen Racela hopes to bring out best of Perpetual Help

That team, handled by Joph Cleopas, is currently undefeated after five games in the NCAA juniors basketball tournament and is gunning for a sixth straight victory when it battles Malayan Red Robins on Sunday.

Racela has his eyes on several standouts of the juniors squad. The problem? He isn’t the only one.

“I know there are a lot of schools interested in these guys,” he said.

READ: Luckless Altas get help with Olsen Racela coming on board

College varsity recruitment has been supercharged the last few years, with teams dragging players from other college programs instead of just recruiting from high schools.

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Among the junior Altas that Racela hopes will graduate into the seniors team are current juniors MVP frontrunner Amiel Acido, gunner Mark Gojo Cruz, Regie Ayon and Jahn Dave Panelo. Two years from now, he hopes Grade 11 big man LeBron Daep joins the college squad too.

“I’ve already spoken to some of them and their parents. I’ve laid out my program and my plans for those kids and showed them the growth they can expect playing for the Altas.”

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Racela is hoping the junior Altas stick with Perpetual to help cushion the loss of starters and key rotation players who either transferred to other schools or turned pro.

“It’s difficult now because you develop players and then they get recruited,” said Racela, an assistant coach at Barangay Ginebra in the PBA. “But that’s what the game is now.”

Racela has scored a few recruits himself, plucking Patrick Sleat from Far Eastern U to boost the Las Pinas-based squad. He expects a few more players from the UAAP to join his team. But those recruits from other schools will need to sit out a year of residency.

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“I’m hopeful,” he said of bringing in Perpetual’s top high school ballers. “Plus, management has been very supportive and they’re doing all they can to keep our junior Altas at Perpetual.”

TAGS: NCAA, Olsen Racela, Perpetual Help Altas

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