AMERICAN coach Todd Purves officially joined Petron as a coaching consultant on Monday, but head coach Gee Abanilla said they won't have the same set-up that Rajko Toroman and Olsen Racela had during a brief and uneventful partnership with the team in the PBA Philippine Cup.
Coming off a short stint as a scout for the Memphis Grizzlies during the NBA Summer League, Purves joined the Blaze Boosters in practice on Monday and immediately buckled down to work, sharing his thoughts with the coaches and players after observing from the sidelines.
“Okay siya. Ang ganda ng mga sine-share niya sa amin, although he already told me about it before he left for the US,” said Abanilla of the former coach of the Indonesian Warriors in the Asean Basketball League.
Abanilla bared that Purves already gave his inputs on some aspects of Petron's system especially on defense, where the American hopes to introduce an NBA-type system that features constant pressure and help-side defense.
Although Purves' role at this time has yet to be clearly defined, Abanilla insisted that the American coach will not handle the white board, meaning he won't be calling plays during games.
“Right now, defense muna siya magfo-focus pero eventual tutulong na rin siya sa opensa,” said Abanilla, the former De La Salle coach who took over from Racela after the Commissioner's Cup.
“Saka ibang dimension yung naituturo niya sa amin. Sabi ko nga sa kanya: ‘If you see something that we might be able to clean up just a little bit, tell us.' 'Yun ang maganda, open siya.”
The 53-year-old later huddled the coaching staff to share his views.
Aside from Abanilla, also present were assistant coaches Biboy Ravanes, Koy Banal, and Peter Martin. Leo Austria, another Petron assistant who led San Miguel past Purves' Warriors in the last ABL Finals, was not present.
“Na-pattern ko na rin kasi yung ibang sinabi niya kaya when he arrived kanina, in sync na kami,” Abanilla said. “Atleast he has the experience to run the system. Ginawa niya sa US yun eh.
“Natuwa siya kasi maayos naman daw yung takbo ng practice, well implemented ang system. Pati spacing and all nakita at napuri niya.
“Sabi niya: ‘You guys are doing great.' Hindi ko alam kung courteous lang ba siya, pero first impression ko sa kanya ganun talaga - mabait,” Abanilla added.
The youthful mentor is also happy to see how import Elijah Millsap is adapting well to the team's system.
“He was impressive, kahit second day pa lang niya marami na kami kaagad nakita na positive,” Abanilla said.