Nash Racela knows Blackwater will need to be mentally strong come Thursday when the Elite clash with league-leader TNT Tropang Giga in their 2020 PBA Philippine Cup restart.
The Elite got their behinds kicked soundly just last Tuesday, 120-82, by the Alaska Aces who led from the get-go.
"It's a big challenge for us to turn it around in just 48 hours. The key is shortening our setback and start shifting our focus on the next game against TNT," said Racela, who will be facing his former team at 4 p.m. (live on One Sports and PBA Rush) at the Angeles University Foundation Sports Arena and Cultural Center.
Racela admitted they can't afford to repeat the performance they had against the Aces, knowing the Tropang Giga are playing at a high level early in the PBA restart.
TNT has a loaded bunch led by RR Pogoy, who is averaging a team-best 25.5 points in the team's 4-0 start. Pogoy, who played under Racela during their UAAP days at Far Eastern University, had a strong debut in the PBA restart when he erupted for 45 markers in the Tropang Giga's 100-95 win over Alaska.
"I'm not really surprised with Roger's strong start. He has been improving year to year since he left FEU," noted Racela, whom he coached for two years after being at the helm of TNT from 2016 to 2018.
But Pogoy won't be Blackwater's only major concern since Bobby Ray Parks, the former Blackwater gunner, is another man to watch. The left-handed Parks erupted for 41 points in TNT's win over Terrafirma.
Other major headaches for Blackwater include veteran combo guard Jayson Castro, Troy Rosario and big man Poy Erram, another solid talent who once played for the Elite.
"We failed to play the right way against Alaska and that's something we plan to change for our game," stressed Racela.
"Facing a powerhouse team is really a challenge, but as long as we keep fighting and continue to play together, then we will have a chance," he added.
Though undersized, Blackwater can still pull off an upset, especially when the trio of Mac Belo, Ed Daquioag and Don Trollano also get their games going.
Blackwater currently carries an even 2-2 record in the PBA bubble.