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Chua leaning towards Manila bubble for Season 46 kickoff

Barangay Ginebra governor Alfrancis Chua gave PBA commissioner Willie Marcial a perfect grade in his handling of the successful PBA Season 45 bubble play in Clark, Pampanga.

Chua paid tribute to the league chieftain, who skippered the PBA through a difficult, challenging situation, and, thus, providing the path followed by other local sports.

But as successful as it was in the Clark setup helped put up by the Clark Development Corp. with the approval of the Inter Agency Task Force, Chua is now for the staging of the same over in Manila.

The Gin Kings top honcho, concurrent sports chief of San Miguel Corp., is batting for a tourney to be played at the Smart Araneta Coliseum for the kickoff of PBA Season 46 by April.

The PBA board targets the ninth of April as the season opener. It is a league landmark with the PBA playing its very first game, featuring Mariwasa versus Concepcion Carrier, on April 9, 1975.

But things would be easier to decide on should the vaccine for Covid-19 roll out in the country by February or March.

Minus the vaccine, Chua is for any kind of bubble concept at the Big Dome or even in a smaller venue somewhere in Metro Manila.

He said he is okay with the closed circuit where the players would observe a strict home-venue-home routine.

Former Ginebra first-round draftee Emilio “Nonoy” Chuatico provided leadership to young future PBA stars*

Meanwhile, former Ginebra first-round draftee Emilio “Nonoy” Chuatico, described as a consummate leader, good big brother to younger teammates, and fierce competitor, passed away at 55.

News of the passing in the US of the former Barangay Ginebra and Purefoods gunner spread around Saturday.

A first-round draft selection by Ginebra in 1992, Chuatico passed away after a long bout with cancer.

“A great teammate and a vocal leader, who would always give words of encouragement. I will forever appreciate Noy and his guidance. Rest well, Manong,” former Ateneo teammate and now Ginebra assistant coach Olsen Racela, said.

Chuatico skippered the Ateneo Blue Eagles that won the school’s first UAAP crown in 1987 before playing a similar role in the Philippine team that won the Southeast Asian Games crown before the home crowd at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in 1991.

In that Francis Rodriguez-mentored Philippine squad, Chuatico provided leadership to young future PBA stars, including Marlou Aquino, Jun Limpot, Vergel Meneses, Johnny Abarrientos, and Bong Ravena.

The following year, he joined the PBA draft where he was made the first-round draft selection by Barangay Ginebra behind Presto Ice Cream’s Meneses, Alaska Milk’s Bong Solomon, Shell’s Jolly Escobar, Purefoods’ Kevin Ramas, San Miguel’s Ravena, Swift’s Eric Reyes, and Alaska’s Allen Sasan. The six-foot guard averaged 5.0 points in four seasons before drifting to the MBA.*PBA.PH

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