NHA TRANG, Vietnam—La Salle is set to turn over its senior basketball program to Gelacio “Gee” Abanilla as its head coach after over a decade with the Pumaren coaching brothers.
The appointment of Abanilla, an assistant coach of the Petron Blaze in the PBA, will be formally announced next week in a gathering of top school officials and team godfathers led by tycoon Danding Cojuangco, team sources said.
The Inquirer had earlier reported that Abanilla, a former playmaker for the Green Archers in the ’90s, had emerged as the frontrunner following the resignation of coach Dindo Pumaren last month.
Abanilla isn’t new to the La Salle bench as he also served as an assistant to Pumaren’s older brother Franz, who steered the Archers to five UAAP championships in 12 seasons starting in 1998.
Dindo took over in the last two years, but the Archers surprisingly struggled last season, finishing sixth place with a 5-9 win-loss record.
Derrick, the eldest of the Pumaren brothers, also called the shots for La Salle from 1986 to 1991, which was highlighted by title romps in 1989 and 1990.
Abanilla had been around the varsity scene, also mentoring La Salle’s sister team, St. Benilde, in the NCAA in 2008.
He also served as deputy coach for several PBA teams, including the Barako Bull and FedEx.