Petron Blaze is a team loaded from front court to backcourt.
From top overall rookie pick June Mar Fajardo manning the slot, to perennial All-Star Arwind Santos and on to the backcourt led by top playmaker Alex Cabagnot, the Boosters are fully loaded as they enter the PBA’s 38th season.
Basketball experts point to Petron as the team to beat this coming season.
The Boosters though, are coming off a so-so performance this past season, despite the fact that they had a star-studded cast to lean on.
With their 23-23 win-loss record last season, the Boosters failed to make it to the Finals in any of the three conferences.
Barangay Ginebra San Miguel coach Siot Tanquingcen believes the coaching change poses as a challenge for Racela considering the immense talent he’ll be dealing with throughout this season.
Nevertheless, Tanquingcen, who formerly coached and guided Petron, then known as San Miguel Beer to the PBA Fiesta Cup crown in 2009, is convinced that Racela is capable of handling the coaching chores.
“Looking back, Olsen is a pretty smart player then, magaling siya bumasa ng situation. I believe he can somehow bring that skill to coaching with the help of coach Rajko (Toroman),” Tanquingcen noted of his former ward in San Miguel Beer.
Racela’s blessed to have Toroman on his side in his first full season as Petron’s head coach. He can surely benefit from Toroman’s wealth of coaching experience this season onwards.
“I’m still new to coaching. And basically, Coach Rajko is bringing with him his experience in coaching. And I’m learning from him, especially when it comes to paying attention to details,” said Racela of the Serbian coach.
Toroman’s impressive resume included piloting Iran to the FIBA-Asia title in 2007 and a ticket to the Beijing Olympics the following year. After handling the Smart Gilas national basketball team from 2009 to 2011, Toroman joined the San Miguel Corp. to serve as Petron’s team consultant.
With a loaded talent and the solid backing of Toroman, it is now up to Racela to translate these advantages to championships for Petron.