'This team is different': Racela's unique approach working well for Elite

TNT is off to a hot 3-0 start in the PBA Philippine Cup restart inside the Clark bubble, but one can't simply overlook how Blackwater has fared during its first three games.

Now handled by Nash Racela, the Tropang Giga's former head coach, Blackwater is slowly developing its own identity as a team.

Veteran wingman KG Canaleta noted that Racela's unique approach has been working well for the Elite.

"Under Coach Nash, this team is different. The combination of veterans and younger guys, well the chemistry looks good," Canaleta told ESPN5.com, shortly after Blackwater chalked up a 98-88 triumph over winless NLEX for its second win in three tries.

Canaleta added that Racela's free-flowing style has allowed every player to contribute in various departments.

"Coach Nash just lets us play our game as long as you'll just be responsible. And that has boosted our confidence," he said. "It's a great feeling to play under him."

Canaleta played his best game thus far in the bubble against the Road Warriors after firing 18 points, on top of seven rebounds and two blocks. After making just two threes in his first two outings, Canaleta knocked down four triples in their win against NLEX.

At 38, Canaleta still manages to average 21.3 minutes, but he stressed that he religiously attended the team's Zoom workout during the long break and monitored his diet.

With rookie Maurice Shaw just one of only two legit big man in the team, Canaleta is happy to see everyone contribute in the rebounding department.

"We're doing a good job rebounding the basketball even though if you see our lineup, we're not a big team," said Canaleta. "We're simply helping each other grab the rebounds. In fact, even our guards are doing their share in rebounding the ball and that's really team effort."

Mac Belo, Roi Sumang and Don Trollano have been the team's go-to guys, along with Ed Daquioag. Interestingly, Blackwater seems to make its strong surge during the third quarter, producing 41, 39 and 35 markers in their first three games.

"If you observe our game, we've been free-flowing and the players simply react to the situation. And for me, that's been the key to our two victories," he added.

Blackwater's next three games starting Tuesday will definitely test the team's character as the Elite face the Alaska Aces on Tuesday, followed by league-leader Tropang Giga on Thursday and Rain or Shine next Sunday.