Chua begins Ginebra practice today
MANILA, Philippines - Barangay Ginebra will resume practice sessions at 9 this morning in the Xavier Gym after the New Year break with newly appointed head coach Alfrancis Chua admitting he’s both excited and scared over the prospect of piloting the PBA’s most popular squad back to title contention.
Chua, 46, was informed of his new role by Ginebra representative to the PBA Board of Trustees and PBA chairman Robert Non the day before the turn of the year. “Honestly, I was shocked when Boss Robert called,” said Chua. “The next day, which was Jan. 1, we met for about three hours to discuss plans and directions. This is a rare opportunity to become the head coach of the PBA’s most popular team. I know there are high expectations from the fans.
That’s why I’m both excited and scared. I immediately consulted my family (wife Jocelyn and their four children Marc Francis, 18, Kyle Francis, 16, Nathan Francis 14 and Cody Francis 11). They’re supporting me all the way. I never asked for this opportunity and coach Siot (Tanquingcen) told me it’s a blessing, to make the most of it. I’m very grateful to management for the confidence and with everyone working together, I’m sure we can get things done.”
Chua said when he was told of the appointment, the first thing on his mind was to consult Tanquingcen whose job he is taking. Tanquingcen will slide down to assistant coach, a role he’s used to. “I respect coach Siot, he knows that,” said Chua who came aboard the Ginebra ship as consultant this time last year. “There’s nobody more hard-working than coach Siot. We all know it was management’s decision, a sort of ‘pahiyang.’ Coach Siot advised me to accept it as a blessing and assured me we’ll work hard together. We’ve got a great staff with coaches Allan (Caidic), Juno (Sauler), Art (de la Cruz) and Freddie (Abuda). Another asset is Samboy (Lim) who’s our team manager.”
Asked about his goals in the coming Commissioner’s Cup, Chua said his priority is to galvanize the team into a fighting unit. “I don’t think there’s any team in the PBA today that’s a pushover,” he said. “Every team is a contender. I’ll take it one practice at a time. We’re out to rebuild our confidence, to enjoy playing with each other. If we play as one, if we play together, if we trust one another, the wins will come, the championships will come.”