TODD Purves is expected to take a more 'active' role at Petron, reminiscent of former national coach Rajko Toroman's set-up with the team last year, after the Blaze Boosters' latest disappointment in the PBA.
Sources told Spin.ph that Purves and current Petron coach Gee Abanilla are set to meet with San Miguel Corp. top honcho Ramon S. Ang on Wednesday to chart the direction the team will be taking in the wake of its semifinal exit from the Philippine Cup.
Players and officials, the sources added, are awaiting the final decision from Ang but are already expecting changes to be implemented, more so with SMC's flagship team reverting to the proud San Miguel Beer name beginning in the mid-season Commissioner's Cup.
“Mukhang ganun ang mangyayari, maaring si Purves ang mas mag-lead sa pag call ng shots. Hindi pa alam kung mag-ko-krokis (handle the whiteboard) siya,” said the source.
Also up in the air is the fate of Abanilla, who has led the Boosters to a finals and semifinal appearance over the league's last two conferences.
“Wala pang nakakaalam kung si Gee pa rin ang head coach. Pero malamang ganun nga ang mangyari. Si Gee pa rin ang head coach, mas aktibo nga lang si Purves,” said the source.
Petron is actually no longer a stranger to having a foreign consultant taking charge as a shadow coach, with Toroman playing the role behind Olsen Racela in an ill-fated campaign in the 2013 Philippine Cup.
Purves led the Indonesia Warriors to an Asean Basketball League (ABL) championship and a finals appearance before joining the Petron camp when Abanilla assumed the coaching reins.
As it is, league pundits and a former player of Purves in the ABL have already noticed the imprint of the American coach on the team, from Petron's rotation to its plays.
“Kay coach Todd na karamihan yung ini-implement na system ni Gee. Hindi mo ba napansin, seven-man rotation lang (ang Petron). Si Gee kapag nagbalasa 'yun (ng players), malalim ang hugot. Inaabot ng sampung players,” said the source.
On the other hand, Jerrick Canada told Spin.ph he noticed that some plays Petron used in the all-Filipino tournament are almost the same as the plays the Warriors ran in the ABL, where he played for the American mentor last season.
“May mga napapansin nga akong play nila na parang sa amin din dati sa Indonesia. Tulad nung ‘flex,' yun ang common play namin dati sa mga kalaban, ganun ang down screen at side screen namin eh,” said Canada.
“Makakatulong si coach Todd dun sa Petron if ever na ganun nga ang mangyayari. Experienced na 'yun eh. Saka magaling,” he added. “Kulang lang naman kami sa tao nun (sa Indonesia Warriors) kaya hindi kami pinalad last season.”
Asked about how Purves rotates his players, Canada bared that the former Sacramento Kings videe coordinator normally shuffled seven locals plus their two imports with the Warriors.