Yeng Guiao once counted Gee Abanilla as his top deputy when the two coaches were together in the Red Bull coaching staff.
So the Rain or Shine bench tactician was happy to hear that his old protege has been appointed head coach of another PBA team.
“In terms of capability or readiness, I think he is,” Guiao told InterAKTV. “He’s been around long enough as an assistant coach and I have faith in Gee as head coach of a basketball team.”
Abanilla has acted a couple of times as an interim coach in the PBA, at Barako Bull when Guiao went on leave and at Petron on at least two different occasions. He coached the De La Salle Green Archers to a final four return in the UAAP last season.
But Abanilla will be joined by a large coaching staff at the helm of the Boosters. This includes longtime Petron assistant Biboy Ravanes as well as a slew of transferees: Koy Banal from San Mig Coffee, Leo Austria from the ASEAN Basketball League’s San Miguel Beermen, and American coach Todd Purves from the Indonesia Warriors also of the ABL.
This prompted Guiao to wonder about whether Abanilla will be able to show his true talent on the Petron bench.
“Sana lang genuine yung utilization sa kanya as head coach,” said Guiao.
Petron has had history of unconventional coaching setups. Earlier this season, the team appointed Olsen Racela as head coach, even as team consultant Rajko Toroman visibly called the shots for the squad, drawing up plays and managing the substitution patterns.
After a disappointing 2-3 win-loss start, however, team management decided to ease out Toroman, handing full control of Racela, who was replaced by the squad after just two conferences.