Racela faces a veteran coach in Yeng Guiao when the Boosters and the Elasto Painters square off at 7:30 p.m.
In the opening game, a retooled Air 21 five battles Barako Bull at 5:15 p.m.
Racela admitted that the excitement is there on his first game as a PBA coach but he wants to stay calm in his first game as a bench tactician.
“Gusto ko relax lang kasi baka maapektuhan yung team,” Racela told InterAKTV. “Kung ano mangyayari sa akin, magre-reflect yun sa team.”
Racela, who replaced Ato Agustin, said he’s been with the team for a more than a month and they are still working on a lot of things.
“Yung execution of our game, that’s something we are working on. Hindi maganda pre-season games namin pero tulungan naman kami dito,” he added.
Aside from Racela, also debuting today is No. 1 overall pick June Mar Fajardo and third overall selection Alex Mallari.
Rain or Shine, which came from a successful Governors’ Cup campaign last season, kept an intact roster plus the addition of ‘veteran’ rookie Chris Tiu.
Tiu, the former SMART Gilas team skipper, also debuts today after skipping the draft last year.
In the first game, the Express test their revamped roster against the Energy Cola, who also made key acquisitions in the preseason after losing Willie Miller in the trade.
Air 21 has new players in John Wilson and Nino Canaleta from Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and Rob Reyes and Nonoy Baclao from Petron.
“Everybody is excited to play their first game,” said Express mentor Franz Pumaren who also signed rookies Simon Atkins and Yousef Taha.
Barako Bull also has new faces on its lineup in Rico Villanueva, Josh Urbiztondo, Sean Anthony, Jason Ballesteros and rookies Lester Alvarez and Dave Marcelo.
“We have to build up our chemistry at the soonest time,” said Energy Cola coach Junel Baculi. “Air 21 is pushover no more.”