AS San Mig stands on the threshold of another championship, online fans have started to speculate on what would transpire inside the dugout during the traditional dugout interview in the event of a title celebration.
However, the wife of diminutive guard Mark Barroca is far from amused.
Russelle Alinea-Barroca admitted the online furor over his husband's dugout interview with courtside reporter Erika Padilla in the wake of San Mig's Commissioner's Cup conquest last year was a traumatic experience for her.
Russelle said she suffered in silence in the face of criticism the San Mig guard got from netizens who felt he got too close for comfort when Padilla, doused with water by overeager players and staff during the title party, interviewed him inside the dugout.
Mrs. Barroca rued how some fans saw malice in her husband's actions.
“Nilagyan lang naman nila ng kulay 'yun eh. Hindi lang kasi nila maintindihan ang nararamdan ni Mark that time … Masyado siyang masaya kasi first time niya mag-champion sa PBA, rookie pa siya,” she said.
“Parang na-exaggerate lang ng tao 'yung (nakita nila sa video). Nasaktan ako kasi masyado nilang na-judge yung asawa ko.”
Here's an AKTV video of the dugout party posted on YouTube:
Mrs. Barroca, who was 6 ½ months pregnant with their first child, Natalie Faith, at that time, admitted feeling so distressed over the comments and reaction of some fans to the incident.
“Masyado akong na-stress nun. Talagang dinibdib ko yung mga sinabi nila kay Mark. Ang mali ko naman that time … binasa ko pa ng binasa yung mga comments nila,” she said.
“Siguro yun din ang reason kaya nung seventh month ko sa baby ko, tinakbo ako sa hospital,” she said. “Parang may halong maduming utak na rin (yung reaksyon nila)."
Russell gave birth prematurely to their daughter.
The 24-year-old from Tandang Sora, Quezon City said she wasn't bothered at all by what she saw in the video, adding Barroca never once gave her reason to doubt his fidelity in all the time she knew him.
“Hindi ako nainis sa nakita ko sa video or what. Kasi kilala ko si Mark. Sa five years naming magkasama bago kami nakasal, never siya nagkaroon ng record na nag two-time,” she said.
“Napaka-honest na tao ni Mark. Talagang tiwala ako sa kanya dahil alam ko na hindi siya gagawa ng anumang bagay na sisira sa amin,” added the Tourism graduate out of Far Eastern University.
And now that her husband is one of the most consistent players for the Mixers in the best-of-seven series which San Mig leads, 3-2, over Petron, Russell said she hopes Barroca will be vindicated from another criticism.
“Dati kasi, talagang nasaktan ako kasi parang sinabi nung iba OA (overacting) si Mark mag-celebrate wala naman siyang naitulong sa team,” she said. “Syempre nung time na yun, bata pa si Mark.”
Good thing is, Barroca himself doesn't seem too bothered by the criticism.
“Napalala lang ng ibang tao 'yun. Wala sa akin 'yun. Hindi ko na iisipin ang mga ganyan. Ang iisipin ko na lang kung paano mag-champion para sa team ko,” said the fifth pick overall from the 2011 draft.
Asked how he will react in the event of another dugout party, Barroca said: “Eh di normal lang. Basta’t alam ko sa sarili ko at pamilya ko na wala akong ginagawang mali.”