December 20 was supposed to be a regular Tuesday for most of us. Braving through traffic, arriving home in time to browse the internet searching for the best memes out there, then realizing that you had a ton of work to do.
But nah. Life just doesn’t work that way AS THE WORLD JUST DECIDED TO SURPRISE EVERYONE WITH A TON OF SURPRISING NEWS THAT MADE MOST PEOPLE SPIT WHATEVER THEY HAD INSIDE THEIR MOUTHS AS IF THEY WERE TRIPLE H FROM THE WWE.
UPCAT RESULTS COME OUT TO DESTROY EVERYONE’S PLANS OF CHRISTMAS JOY
THEN BATANG GILAS HAS A NEW COACH IN GOLDWIN MONTEVERDE
AND ALL OF A SUDDEN FEU TWEETS THIS??
— FarEasternUniversity (@FarEasternU) December 20, 2016
PEOPLE CAN ONLY TAKE IN SO MUCH INFORMATION, JEEZ!
*stops, breathes, drinks a glass of water, tries best to not spit it*
As surprising as those chain of events were, we’re not here to talk about why you did/didn’t pass the UPCAT, or what Goldwin Monteverde’s hiring as Batang Gilas head coach means for the future of Philippine basketball. We’re here to discuss what Olsen Racela’s hiring means for the FEU Tamaraws.
Just how good is he of a fit? Is Coach Olsen ready to lead a basketball team once again after his nightmare of a stint with the Petron Blaze Boosters? How different does Olsen coach compared to his younger brother?
We’ll try to answer those questions below. Let’s get to it!
A look at Coach Olsen’s history as a coach
Before we answer those questions above, let’s turn back the clock and try to remember Coach Olsen Racela’s history as a basketball coach.
After retiring from playing basketball during 2011, Coach Olsen Racela took on his first head coaching stint as a coach of the Energen back U16 and U18 Philippine Youth teams. Coach Olsen handled blue chips such as Arvin Tolentino, Hubert Cani, Jerie Pingoy, JJay Alejandro and Rey Nambatac. The Energen team finished 4th for the U16 tourney, while the U18 team only managed to eke out a 6th place finish. Even though both teams under Coach Olsen weren’t able to produce the result that they desired, the players still had utmost respect for their mentor.
After his stint as head coach of the Energen team, Coach Olsen was named head coach of the Petron Blaze Boosters during the 2012-2013 PBA season, the coaching stint that most fans associate him with. This stint was something which Coach Olsen would probably choose to forget rather than remember, given all of the struggles which his team encountered during this season. He was trapped in the middle of the SMC group which was shuffling through coaches in a bid to produce a title for its teams. He was also handling a Petron team that had a number of egos clashing with each other, trying to fight for the title of alpha in a team that had a ton of alphas. In the middle of all of those alphas? A rookie Junemar Fajardo trying to just carve his name in the PBA. Even though his team had to endure the famed Petronovela and finishing with a 14-14 record in his two conferences as head coach, the most infamous moment of Coach Olsen’s stint as head coach was this:
After his stint as head coach, Coach Olsen was put in the backseat and assigned as an assistant coach to Coach Tim Cone in the San Mig Super Coffee Mixers, and was an instrumental part in their run of 4 straight championships. After 2 seasons with the Coffee Mixers, the coaching staff of Coach Tim was transferred to the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Gin Kings, and Coach Olsen was part of that. Coach Olsen wound up being part of the coaching staff that would put Ginebra’s championship drought to an end.
Come the 20th of December, Coach Olsen’s history as a basketball coach became much more colorful with his sppointment as head coach of the FEU Tamaraws.
The system of Coach Olsen and how it fits FEU
When trying to determine what exactly Coach Olsen will bring to the table, it would be easiest to look at his stint with the Petron Blaze Boosters to determine that. But given how he wasn’t really able to establish his system as head coach since that Petron team was umm.. quite the mess to put it nicely, it wouldn’t be smart to base our answer off that. If we did base our answer of that stint the very best answer that I could give you would be a resounding ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.
So instead, we’ll have to turn to his stint as a head coach of the Energen Pilipinas Youth Teams which he handled five years ago. The system which Coach Olsen had in place for that team was one which should ring a familiar tune for the FEU faithful: the dribble drive offense.
Coach Olsen didn’t implement the dribble drive the same way that Coach Nash did. After all, they are two different coaches. But for this exercise, we’ll be talking about the main principles behind the dribble drive system which are penetration, shooting, and motion.
First off, the penetration which the dribble drive has is often initiated by the guards. During Coach Nash’s time as head coach, Mike Tolomia and Terrence Romeo were two of the best guards who initiated this offense thanks to their elite ability to get to the rim. They were both shifty guards who had enough physicality to carve their way to the rim to create for themselves, or for their teammates. During Coach Olsen’s time as an Energen coach, he had JJay Alejandro act as the main penetrator for the team, with Jerie Pingoy helping out the cause. For FEU? He’ll have a plethora of options with him.
With Monbert Arong using up his remaining years of eligibility, the job as penetrator will now be given to incoming third-year combo guard Wendell Comboy. Comboy is a lanky guard, who is a knockdown shooter (1.2 made triples per game) from the outside, but has enough shiftiness to drive to the rim. He’s received Mike Tolomia comparisons ever since he entered the Philippine Basketball scene, but he isn’t quite in that level yet. That will come with years of experience and training. He is, however, a capable passer (26.2 AST%) who is prone to making turnovers (21.7 TOV%) from time to time.
Another option that Coach Olsen will have is former NU Bullpup and Ateneo Blue Eagle Hubert Cani. Cani wasn’t able to wow fans during his stint as a Blue Eagle given his issue with playing time and weight, but he is looking to make a comeback as a Tamaraw this time around. With a better looking body reminiscent of his NU Bullpup days, we may see the same Finals MVP Cani that fans were so excited to watch before the start of Hubert’s career.
As seen in the clip above, Hubert is a capable penetrator who uses a variety of moves to get to the rim. He isn’t a freight train like a Jason Castro nor is he an unorthodox guard ala Mike Tolomia. What Cani is, is a guard who has solid handles to get to the rim, using a variety of crossovers, spin moves and side steps. He’s able to create baskets not only for himself, but also for his teammates. The balance of scoring and passing is something which Cani has been able to achieve for most of his career. He is also a capable shooter from the mid-range, whether it be off pull-ups or catch and shoots. This then brings us to the second principle of the dribble drive: Shooting.
Other than Cani and Comboy, one of FEU’s projected main shooters come Season 80 is Born To Score himself, Arvin Tolentino.
Even though he has the size of a Filipino center, Arvin is a willing shooter who possesses a silky smooth stroke paired with a deceiving set of handles. He may be known as a shooter only in volume (51% of the shots he takes are from deep) but decision making be damned, when Arvin gets hot from the outside, Jesus Christ is he hot. He’s capable of pulling up from three, but at the same time, he can play off ball and catch and shoot off a pass from a penetrating teammate.
More than his shooting, Arvin brings another dimension to the FEU offense with his penetration. Most of his shots come from the outside, but Arvin is also a capable penetrator. AS seen above, Arvin uses a shot fake (that was so good that even the camera man was faked off!) to get to the rim, something which he can easily do given his shooting prowess, ball handling ability and size.
Coach Olsen can use the ATrain much like how the Gilas program has used Ranidel De Ocampo. That means spotting up for threes, but at the same time penetrating when need be. That’s the beauty of having someone like Arvin. He has versatility that is rare to find for a guy his size. This then brings us to the final principle of the dribble drive offense: Motion.
The system needs its players to be in continuous motion, trying its best to dizzy defenders with its penetration and crisp passing. This requires a ton of versatility from your players, as at times, big men will be required to put the ball on the floor. With Hubert, Wendell and Arvin’s capability to shoot and penetrate, this will largely be possible for the Tamaraws under Coach Olsen.
That’s not to say that these three players are the only ones capable of doing those things mentioned above. They just happen to be possibly three of the best players who can do this for the Tamaraws. We haven’t even mentioned how a guy like Richard Escoto can use his mid-range shooting for the Tamarwas, or how Prince Orizu’s skill as a pick and roll option plays into the dribble drive system that Coach Olsen will possibly have in place. This just means that the Tamaraws are in good position to mesh well with the system that Coach Olsen will probably have in place for the FEU Tamaraws.
Other than the dribble drive, principles of the triangle offense could also be placed in the system of Coach Olsen given how he has been under Coach Tim Cone for almost three years now. There are a ton of things that the former PBA legend can inject into his offense, and chances are he will be able to accomplish that thanks to the versatility and depth of the FEU team that he will be handling come Season 80.
How Coach Olsen himself will fit with the players
— Arvin Tolentino (@arvintolentino5) December 20, 2016
Coach Olsen has served as more than just a coach for most of the players who he has handled. He’s been a father to them, treating his players with utmost care and looking out for their best interests. After all, Olsen was also the same guy who helped bring Tolentino and Cani to FEU.
In more ways than one, Coach Olsen is a lot like his younger brother, Nash. And I think that means an almost seamless fit between the FEU players and their new head coach. (Just as seamless as the image at the very top of this article!)
The players will see a lot from their old coach in Coach Olsen, while Coach Olsen will be more than capable of handling an FEU Tamaraws team that is hungry for another championship. There will be roadblocks at the start (that’s natural of ANY relationship, no matter how good the fit may be), but once everything gels, the results will be fearsome for opposing squads.
After all, the FEU Tamaraws are projected to be one of the better teams come Season 80. They have one of the most intact cores next season, plus they’re adding two of the best High School players in recent memory in Cani and Tolentino. The main weakness that many had them pegged to have was how they were going to transition from Coach Nash to their new head coach.
With Coach Olsen, they essentially have Coach Nash, albeit in a different package. The transition which the FEU faithful feared may no longer be a thing after all, given Coach Olsen’s similarities to his younger brother. Can he replicate the achievements done by Nash? We can’t give a clear answer to that right now, but with how things are looking, don’t be surprised if Olsen is able to.