Al's Well That Ends Well

Manila Bulletin, August 22, 2006 | Go to article overview
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Al's Well That Ends Well


Byline: Ed Picson

THAT WASN'T a typographical error, Al of course refers to the Head Coach of Sta. Lucia Realty in the PBA. Alfrancis Chua has always been a colorful personality. As a player, he was easy to spot as he did so many things that caught the attention of everyone like when Coach Joe Lipa asked him to stop a formidable foreign opponent from scoring, he managed to foul the player right at the opening tip, bloodying the poor fellow's nose, effectively taking him and his scoring out of the game. Purely accidental and unfortunate, of course, insists Al.

As a coach in the PBA, you couldn't miss Al if you wanted to. He's one of the most vocal, animated and recognizable faces in the league, helped in no small measure by his long, flowing locks which he cherishes with as much pride and care as his Harley Davidson.

At the annual PBA draft last Sunday, Alfrancis came away snickering like the proverbial cat that landed the mouse. Although his catch was hardly a rat, it being the sought-after Fil-Am Kelly Williams. Chua waxed romantic, effusive and even almost gloating, after successfully snaring the PBL stand-out from Michigan. A few days before the draft, word had gone around that Williams would only play for San Miguel and no other team.

A few days before, I had talked to Alfrancis and team manager Buddy Encarnado and both sounded exasperated at the same time expressing disbelief at the news. It turns out they were right in saying that Williams had never said it, and that this was just rumor being "floated by unknown sources with undetermined agendas."

Alfrancis and Buddy actually hied off to Cebu a couple of days before the draft to mull things over and clear their mind so as to arrive at a crucial decision in the light of the disturbing news. They then decided to ignore the talks and go for Williams, a decision they were glad they made, topped off by the fact that when their next turn came, they found Mark Isip also available.

Alfrancis is all praises for Williams, saying they had a long and fruitful talk with the player from Oakland University in Detroit, and found him easy to get along with, deeply religious and gentle.

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