Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, long considered as the most popular club in the PBA, will have to start looking for a new coach for the coming Governors' Cup.
That's because coach Alfrancis Chua, who just steered the Kings to the Finals of the Commissioner's Cup against Alaska, stepped down yesterday due to what he said "personal reasons".
Chua's decision to quit shocked Ginebra management and its players - not to mention the team's avid followers.
Chua, who replaced Siot Tanquingcen, could not be reached for comment but there were reports that pony-tailed mentor had been unhappy with some of the developments that transpired the past few weeks.
The source did not specify those things but it must be recalled that Chua had no knowledge at all when some personnel - new assistant coaches -- where brought to Ginebra camp.
Chua, according to sources, informed the team about his decision after their practice session at the Xavier Gym in San Juan.
Before he dropped the bomb yesterday, Chua reportedly went to Japan with his wife to think things over.
Another source said that Chua's decision has something to do with issues against a ranking sports official of the giant food and beverage company San Miguel Corp. (SMC).
Several top ranking officials from San Miguel and even star guard Mark Caguioa tried to pacify him but Chua, according to a source, did not relent.
Chua joined Ginebra prior to the season as consultant, but was elevated by management as head coach after the team's poor performance in the Philippine Cup, replacing Siot Tanquingcen.
Another source said there are still efforts being made by Ginebra officials to convince Chua to reconsider.
At presstime, PBA Board of Governor chairman Robert Non is also not available for comment.
Chua's decision came on the same day that vetaran forward Rudy Hatfield informed the team that he is retiring.
The decision of the 14-year vetaran Hatfield to call it quits left Ginebra with a big hole in the middle. Hatfield has been a workforce for the team since his arrival.
Hatfield, 35, joined Ginebra in a blockbuster trade with Coca-Cola back in 2005 to form a formidable frontline with his former Tanduay teammate Eric Menk.
Hatfield, who started his pro career with the now-defunct MBA, joined the PBA as a direct-hire of Tanduay in 2000. He was dealt to Ginebra in 2005 but played in 2006-07 season and helped the team win the Philippine Cup.
He want back to the US after the season and did not play for nearly two years.
Hatfield returned to the PBA in 2009.
Known as a fierce competitor and rebounder, Hatfield will be missed by Ginebra, which recently got in a trade forward Japeth Aguilar from Globalport.
There are efforts by Ginebra to re-activate the 6-foot-6 Menk, who last played for the San Miguel Beermen that won the ABL title last month.
Asi Taulava, another veteran center, is being eyed by the Kings although his previous team Meralco still holds his PBA rights.
Through 14 seasons, Hatfield averaged 10.9 points, 9.7 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.2 steals.