I apologize for posting this in the DLSU forum. But Gee Abanilla surely has a very short memory. He had a lot to say against foreign players when he was coaching CSB. I think another interview regarding his view on foreign players is needed.
ďI DONíT LIKE FOREIGN PLAYERS ON MY TEAMĒ Ė Gee Abanilla
by Josef Ramos
Wednesday, 5 March 2008 (391 Views, 14 Comments)
For a change, College of Saint Benilde (CSB) has hired a new head coach for the next basketball National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) menís basketball this season and hopefully the move would bring them back to respectability.
Gee Abanilla, 41, an assistant of Red Bull mentor Yeng Guiao in the PBA, replaced Carlos Caloy Garcia two months ago as head coach of the Saint Benilde Blazers, who finished last in the team standings during the past two years.
And as an inboundpass.com exclusive, we were able to interview Abanilla knowing the fact that this is his first time to handle a team from a highly-respected and oldest collegiate league in the country.
INBOUNDPASS: Well this is your first time to handle a collegiate team, so how do you feel?
GEE ABANILLA: Iím very thankful and at the same time excited after hearing the managementís decision of hiring me as coach. Step by step, Iíll do everything to turn them competitive again. Iím happy also because the players are very cooperative in my first two months. They have a good working ethic.
INBOUNDPASS: What are the expectations of the management from you?
GA: I signed a two-year contract and I told them that Iíll do everything to improve the team. Final Four is definitely a good place to be, but during our meeting I said we should be realistic also depending on what we got right now.If we finish last in the past two seasons, I told them thereís nothing we can do but to move forward.
If we ended 10th place last season, why not ninth or eighth this time (laughs). Every team in the NCAA is competitive, so it is indeed very challenging on my part to coach them.
INBOUNDPASS: How far do you think can your team go next season?
GA: I donít want to make any prediction in the first place but we will do everything what it takes to win each game, not only in the NCAA but also during the preseason tournaments like the FIL-OIL and Nike Summer League. We will bring back the pride to the school.
INBOUNDPASS: What are the strength and weaknesses of the Blazers so far?
GA: Although there are more things which need to fix, all I can say right now is we are strong in the No. 2 position (shooting guard). Most of the guys are natural shooters and aggressive slashers. But I keep telling them that we cannot rely solely on our offense. We should also play defense.
It should be 10 percent techniques and 90 percent attitude. Caloy (Garcia) did a good job on his players, although they failed to move to the next level last year. There is no problem in the point guard position. Our disadvantage is the lack of big men and wing players. In short, we are undersized.
We need somebody who has a post threat and a physical type of player who can also score, rebound and block shots. As of now, we donít have that kind of player in our roster and we are on the look out for future talent.
I think my players Chuck Dalanon, Byron Gan, Harvey Porras and Jeff Morial will be the core of this team next season.
INBOUNDPASS: So who will comprise your coaching staff?
GA: They are Richard Del Rosario, Mon Jose and Marlon Celis. They are all hardworking and defensive oriented coaches.
INBOUNDPASS: Do you favor foreign players in your team?
GA: I donít like foreign players on my team because personally I favor players who came from the grassroots level though I would consider Fil-Foreign players. Iím also looking at the bigger picture for Philippine basketball. Foreign players cannot represent us in any overseas competition.
INBOUNDPASS: Aside from making Saint Benilde a team to reckon with, what are your other plans?
GA: It is actually easier said than done. Since Saint Benilde joined the NCAA in 1998, everybody was thinking that the school is only the second priority of the parent institution. And De La Salle University which plays in the UAAP is their first priority.
The Green Archers, most of them said, is the main team of the La Salle community. I want to change that view. If we play competitively, I think our image will change. People will realize that we are not the last choice. I want that La Salle and Saint Benilde are both equally competitive. Iím hoping that my goals will be a reality soon.
INBOUNDPASS: Any advice from Coach Yeng Guiao before taking this job?
GA: He is very supportive and I thank him for giving me some advice. I encouraged him to have some pep talk with my players and he promised he would.
INBOUNDPASS: Which team do you think is the strongest next season?
GA: San Beda College is definitely a contender because of their two Nigerians (Sam Ekwe and Kevin Udo). Others are Letran, Mapua, JRU and San Sebastian College, among others. But all of them are beatable if we execute our transition game and play solid defense.
That's a non-issue. He works within the overall context of the long-term strategy mapped out by the team management. Hiring Gee is part of that strategy. Gee is a team player, and he works with what he's given as he tries to mold the team into a contender.
He may have had other views then, but that was a different situation. Situations change. Coaches move on to other teams. Priorities change. Strategies change. And coaches must adapt to their new situations. Of course he has the right to change his mind in different circumstances - do you begrudge him that right?
Btw, it's unusual that you would raise this point given that SBC's success in recent years has been largely due to foreign imports.
I get the point that Gee is now in a different situation which caused him to re-evaluate his previous position in the light of the team management's strategic directions. If he didn't agree, he was free to go. So it should very obvious that he's now comfortable with having imports on his team. Oh and btw, our previous experience with imports has no bearing at all with Gee's position today.
Again, why raise this at all when your school benefited greatly from imports such as Ekwe? We never questioned your coaches or school because it is their prerogative to recruit whoever they want for the team. I believe that our recruitment activities are exclusively the business of our team management.
Last time I looked, your team continues to have imports on your current roster. So what's your motive for questioning our coach's position on imports?
Gee is entitled to change his mind. Live and let live...
Now, I’m talking to someone who at least understands. I hear you james, bro.
But Gee changed his mind only when he finally found his own import. When it was convenient for him and his team. When he didn’t have it yet (with CSB), it was wrong to have an import because of the reasons he mentioned in that interview. Now that he changed his mind (how can he say no to the boss?) and wanted to have an import too on his team (just like SBC and the rest), was there a change in the reasons too? Frankly, that was a big H on his part. And sour-graping too back then.
Live and let live, I agree too. But back then, he had a lot to say about teams with foreign players. So it’s just fair that his own statements go back to him. Return to sender, I say. ET TU, GEE?
Having said my piece, it’s time to say - welcome to the club, Gee! What took you so long?
This has nothing to do with DLSU, as you can see from my previous posts, because DLSU is, I believe, one of the first if not the first to really recruit and utilize foreign players.