THE worst-kept secret in town is out.
The much-anticipated rigodon of coaches of San Miguel Corp.-owned teams is underway, with Gee Abanilla taking over from Olsen Racela as coach of Petron where he will be joined by a whole new team of assistant coaches and team manager.
Abanilla, who was replaced as La Salle coach last month, will have newly minted ABL champion coach Leo Austria of San Miguel and Koy Banal, formerly of San Mig Coffee, as assistants. The only holdover from Racela's staff will be former pro Biboy Ravanes.
The shuffle was announced during a meeting called by top SMC officials on Tuesday at the company headquarters where all the coaches of the three teams under its umbrella were present.
Named Petron team manager is Siot Tanquingcen, who won championships as a coach of Ginebra and was also a former coach of the flagship franchise of the SMC group.
PBA great Hector Calma, who previously held the position, has been named the franchise's alternate board member - the same post to be held by current Ginebra manager Samboy Lim.
League chairman Robert Non is now Ginebra's team manager and representative to the board.
To complete the cast, former Indonesia Warriors coach Todd Purves is set to return to the country in two weeks time to take on a consultant role at Petron. He was in the country for four days last week and sources said he has already agreen terms with the SMC group.
Racela, who coached Petron for two conferences, has been moved to San Mig as one of Tim Cone's assistants.
Ginebra will also have two new faces in its coaching staff in former Petron champion coach Ato Agustin and George Gallent, formerly of San Mig. Gallent played for Ginebra head coach Al Chua during his days in the amateur leagues.
Spin.ph had earlier reported that University of the East coach Boycie Zamar and Alaska assistant coach Louie Alas have been offered assistant coaching positions at Barangay Ginebra.
Aside from Tanquingcen, Ginebra has also lost Juno Sauler and Allan Caidic who are now working full time at La Salle as coach and assistant, respectively.