Is SMC Sports Director and Brgy. Ginebra Team Governor Alfrancis Chua the most powerful man in the PBA today?
So powerful that no matter what he does, he can easily get away with it.
This seems to be the burning question in the minds of PBA fans nowadays.
Just recently, the controversial SMC official blasted TNT head coach Nash Racela on social microblogging site Twitter by calling him the ‘best reklamador of the year’. Chua even posted a photo of deceased Filipino comedian Palito, who just like Racela has a skinny physique, and captioned it with ‘Congrats Ginebra!’.
Two years ago, sportswriter Snow Badua was banned by Commissioner Chito Narvasa from all league related activities for his twitter attack on Chua.
Narvasa termed Badua’s tirades as irresponsible and deplorable actions. He added that the tweets were meant to ‘malign, embarrass and mortify a person of this association’.
Well, you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure out that Narvasa’s rationalization for banning Badua is exactly the same in nature as to what Chua did to Racela.
Chua’s tweets were also meant to malign, embarrass and mortify Racela, who is also a person of the association. And not only that, posting a photo of Palito congratulating Ginebra is the height of total disrespect and insensitivity, a slap in the face not only for the dead actor but to his family as well.
Chua’s attack was actually far worse as not only did it involve an innocent third party, a dead one at that, but as head of the BCAP he could’ve dealt with an ‘erring’ member in private.
Aside from being a high-ranking official of SMC and the PBA, Chua is also the President of the Basketball Coaches Association of the Philippines (BCAP), an organization which seeks to protect the welfare of local coaches.
It goes without saying that a person holding such high positions should be mature, responsible and professional enough with their public actions. What Chua did only showcased his utter lack of class and breeding.
His twitter attack on Racela stemmed from their verbal altercation during the halftime break of Game 3 of the semifinals series between the TNT KaTropa and Brgy. Ginebra San Miguel.
Chua and Racela figured in heated exchange of words as both teams were making their way into their respective locker rooms. Among those who acted as peacemakers were BGSM coach Tim Cone, Nash’s older brother Olsen, and no less than the commissioner himself.
The commotion was caught on camera and was uploaded by TV coveror Sports5 on its Youtube channel.
Incidentally, a similar incident happened during Game 1 of the quarterfinal series between San Miguel and Brgy. Ginebra. Japeth Aguilar confronted Gabby Espinas after the latter challenged the former’s father to a fight on the hardcourt.
Aguilar and Espinas, along with Tim Cone who acted as peacemaker, were fined by the PBA for their actions.
Cone got poorer by P5,000 while Espinas and Aguilar were penalized P2,000 and P1,000 respectively.
This now begs the question – why were Chua and Racela not penalized? They were involved in a verbal altercation similar to that of Aguilar and Espinas’. The two players were fined, why were they spared?
Are team executives exempted from being fined? Racela has been fined by Narvasa countless of times already since he assumed the top coaching post of TNT, so he can’t be the reason why penalties were withheld.
So, all indications point to Chua’s involvement.
With him in the thick of things, the commissioner expectedly chose against imposing sanctions. Narvasa gave no reasons why no penalties were levied, no explanations were offered whatsoever.
Fans were left in the dark once more. Same offense, different personalities, contrasting decision.
Surely, there has to be something brewing between Chua and Narvasa. Afterall, it was Chua who succeeded Narvasa as head of the BCAP. On the other hand, it was Chua who was responsible for the appointment of Narvasa as league’s top honcho.
The connection really goes deep. Hence the hesitation to penalize is easily understandable.
At this day and age where players and coaches get fined for the smallest of infractions, it’s really an insult to the fans’ intelligence as to why Chua gets away with anything.
Lest we forget, this ‘untouchable’ SMC executive also smoked an e-cigarette on the team bench while a game was in progress. It happened during an out-of-town sortie in Angeles City, December 5, 2015 against the Blackwater Elite.
The move drew tremendous criticisms not only from the fans but also from health advocacy groups. It was the kind of infraction which was really and truly detrimental to the league.
And Narvasa’s reaction? An advice. “Yung paninigarilyo, they think of it as detrimental talaga. I hope that you can stop it,” said the then newly-appointed league commissioner.
And then a stern warning. “Partner, kapag naulit ‘yan patay ka na sa akin.”
So, Chua smoked while on the team bench during a live game, had a verbal altercation with a coach which was captured on camera, bashed the same coach on Twitter – called him names and even posted a photo of a dead comedian to make fun of his physique. And to top it off, regularly complains to game officials in full view of the fans.
Again, in a time when players are being fined for pointing an accusing finger at an official, resentment to a call, failing to report to the official’s table, dress code violations and pulling down shorts, it’s really a mockery to the highest degree for the SMC Sports Director to get away with offenses far more worse than what anybody in the league has done.
In reality, Chua’s acts were more detrimental to the league than any of those committed by the players and coaches. Even if you combine all the officiating complaints against the league, it will still pale in comparison to the in-game smoking and the twitter rampage of Chua in terms of actions considered as damaging to the league’s credibility.
That’s how powerful Alfrancis Chua is. And to answer the question, yes. As long as Chito Narvasa is the league commissioner, expect Chua to really be the PBA’s version of ‘The Untouchable’.