PBA: Al Francis Chua Out. Robert Jaworski In?
February 14, 2007 by Benjie Cruz
After Chua failed to bring his team to the semi-finals AND because his boys are responding to him no more, Al Francis was sacked by Sta. Lucia Realtors.
Since taking over from Norman Black in 2003, Chua has compiled a 72-101 win-loss record. He is 129-140 overall in the PBA.
“Sta. Lucia Realty, upon consultation with top company and ball club officials led by team owner Excie Robles and league governor Buddy Encarnado has decided to pursue a different direction as far as its Philippine Basketball Association ball club is concerned,” Sta. Lucia Realty said in its statement.
“As such, Sta. Lucia management is hereby elevating assistant coach Teodeorico ‘Boyet’ Fernandez to the position of head coach in lieu of coach Alfrancis Chua, who will hencefort be the team consultant,” Sta. Lucia Realty added. Story here.
Taking over the coaching, or should we say, motivating the Sta. Lucia Players to work their butts and to not choke come 3rd and 4th quarters will be Boyet Fernandez. A one-time Sta. Lucia player himself. Let us see how the likes of Dennis Espino, Kenneth Duremdes and Marlou Aquino respond to a newbie tactician. Adonis Tierra, the long-time Sta. Lucia coaching staff will stay on as one of the assistant coaches.
So this declaration of new Sta. Lucia head coach will even give Air 21 the edge on the Rober Jaworski sweepstakes. Since last week, rumors are swirling that The Living Legend will soon be back with Talk ‘N Text and Air21 as the front runners. Rumors confirmed.
Air21 team manager Lito Alvarez said he is meeting with Jaworski tomorrow in a an exploratory discussion aimed at making the former PBA star and player-coach as mentor of the Express team which is owned by businessman Bert Lina.
“We’re very excited at the possibility of hiring him to coach the Express for the coming conference. But of course, we would like to hear his thoughts first on whether he would like to be head of our basketball operations, or assume a full-time coaching job,” said Alvarez. Story here.
Being a true-blue (or red) Robert Jaworski fan since 1986, I take this news with mixed feelings. I want Robert Jaworski back in the PBA but do I want him coaching a team other than Ginebra? Hmmm. Hmmm. Hmmm.
I really can’t imagine him wearing Air21 sweat pants and jacket bearing “COACH” behind. I will be torn between two teams: The Ginebra which Jawo himself built and (if the negotiations hold) his new team. With negotiations reported in deep stages, I might as well brace for it. Between Air21 and TnT, I would hope Jawo will get the TnT gig as this team is ready to contend. Unlike with Air21, he should be prepared for a losing conference/season. But knowing Jaworski, I am sure he would love to have that challenge of making a contender from ground up. A la Ginebra 86, Anejo 88, Ginebra 91 and Gordon’s Gin 97.
With Air21, I just don’t know the level of commitment of Air21 in becoming one of the elite teams. Too many times, this team has done shaky deals and trades in the past. That commitment of Air21 would surely be on the table tomorrow when they meet up. Another thing going on for Air 21 is, TnT is loaded with too many Fil-Ams and this doesn’t fit Jaworski too much.
Another career path for Robert Jaworski is taking over the Basketball Association of the PBA-SBP, the newly formed unity group. But such merger is fragile one, I would not think Jaworski will dive in there. And just too much of politicking in there. Jaworski surely must be tired of politics.
And to spice things up… what if coach Jong fails in this finals series (Ginebra down 0-2) and coach Chot Reyes goes back to the Philippine National Team now that we are FIBA-approved? Maybe Jong could go back to San Miguel where he would not be exposed because the line up is deeper. Can we see Jawo back at Ginebra San Miguel? Will he trade for Marlou Aquino? Will he get his 90â€™s hitman back, Noli Locsin baby! Will Bal David’s cuteness resurface? Will he get Allan Caidic as an assistant? (Allan Caidic has been seen behind the Ginebra bench these past games. Wait, is he still the manager of Coke?) Will Jaworski draft Ron Ron (his youngest son)? Would you like to watch a Jaworski-led team against the Red Bull Barakos’ Enrico Villanueva, Penissi and Yeng Guiao?
The implications are endlessâ€¦