LOUIE Alas said that while he was surprised with his firing as Phoenix coach, he didn't have much difficulty accepting his fate, knowing the nature of the business.
“Like what I’ve said, ang mga coaches, minsan hina-hire, minsan fina-fire. Alam nating lahat ‘yan,” said Alas in a video interview with SPIN.ph, just a few days after the PBA ballclub announced it was 'discontinuing' his services.
“’Yung kontrata ko naman, performance-based. Medyo napadali lang. Medyo kahit ine-expect ko na puwedeng mangyari because performance-based ang agreement namin, nagulat lang ako dahil madali," the veteran coach added.
Alas said he learned about his firing through a memo that detailed the reasons for his termination. He declined to go into detail, but said he couldn't let it pass without answering the 'justifications' for his exit point for point.
“May mga memo na sina-cite nila na kaya na-terminate, which is sinagot ko naman ngayon lang. Sinabi ko na hindi ako nag-aagree sa mga sinasabi niyo. Talagang sinagot ko," said the former national coach.
"Sabi ko nga, bakit pa tayo gagawa ng justification, ready naman tayo mag-compromise? Ako naman, hindi naman ako papayag na kapag alam ko na hindi ko ginawa ‘yun, babasahin ko na lang ‘yung memo? I have to answer that. Sinagot ko lahat ‘yun.”
One line in the memo sought the return of a company car. Alas said he readily obliged.
“Nakalagay pa nga sa memo, please return your car. Right there and there, tinext ko ‘yung liaison [officer ng team]. Sabi ko ‘yung sasakyan nandito, puwede mo na i-pick up," Alas said. "Out of courtesy rin, nung gabi, inalis ko na pangalan ko sa Viber group ng coaches para magkaroon sila ng privacy. Ganun ko sila nirerespeto."
While his contract was about to expire on October 31, Alas said he told Phoenix that he was open to any decision management wants about the direction of the team.
“Nag-uusap naman kami ni manager [Paolo] Bugia about sa puwedeng mangyari. Lagi ko sinasabi sa kanya, two things ‘yan sa bubble sa darating na conference. Ako, alam ko ‘tong team na ‘to, lalo na kapag kumpleto, this will be competitive.
Lalaban ito especially although masama ‘yung nangyari kay June Mar [Fajardo]. Hindi natin gusto ‘yung nangyari pero nung na-injure si June Mar, ‘yung playing field, medyo patas… Willing ako tapusin ito mula umposa hanggang dulo.”
“Pero lagi ko rin sinasabi sa kanila, welfare ng team ‘yung iniisip ko palagi at kayo ang owner. Kung may iniisip kayo na mas maganda, please let me know. I’m willing to compromise,” said Alas.
Alas said he and management never got to a point of negotiating an extension in his contract.
“Actually, hindi ko ugaling magtanong about my contract. Gaya ng sinabi ko, I’m more than willing na tatapusin natin ‘to. Pero sa ibang organizations, kapag malapit na, pinag-uusapan na ‘yan kung ie-extend o hindi. Hindi kami nakarating doon. Doon pa lang, mag-iisip ka na," he said.
"Pero being me na lahat sa akin, ‘yung negative, puwedeng i-turn into positive, sige trabaho lang tayo,” Alas said.
As for his suspension, Alas admitted committing three violations – entering the court prematurely while disinfection procedures was ongoing, entering the venue early, and having his dislocated finger taped by a physical therapist. He said all three violations were unintentional.
“Sobrang frustrated ko na nakatatlong violations ako. Tinext ako ni manager Bugia. Sa sobrang frustration ko sa sarili ko, sabi ko, ‘Fine me na lang.’ Ang dating sa kanya nun, napaka-arrogant ko. Sabi ko, ‘Fine me na lang.’ Hindi ko tinatanggi. Nagawa ko lahat ‘yan pero inuulit ko, unintentional violation.
"Iba-violate ko ba ‘yung matagal ko nang hinihintay? Alam naman nila na I was fighting for the resumption of the league,” Alas said.
If he has one regret, it's that he was unable to talk to the team after his firing.
“Gusto ko nga makausap ‘yung team as a team eh, pero since wala nang tsansa,” he said.