WITH Alex Compton taking on the head-coaching job at Alaska, fears of a possible legal wrangle with the Basketball Coaches Association of the Philippines surfaced.
However, a top Alaska official said the team doesn't expect Compton’s ascent to the head-coaching position in lieu of Luigi Trillo to encounter any legal problems since the American coach, who was born and raised in the Philippines, is already a permanent resident in the country.
“I don’t think so,” was the curt reply of the team executive who requested anonymity when asked about the likelihood of a conflict the decision will have with BCAP, which has gained a court ruling setting a 'Filipino-first' policy with regards to coaching positions in the PBA.
That Court of Appeals ruling has kept San Miguel Beer from officially designating American 'active consultant' Todd Purves the new head coach, even if the former Indonesia Warriors coach has been the one calling the shots for the Beermen in games and in practices.
It was the same situation when Serb Rajko Toroman was appointed to handle the reins for both Petron and Barako Bull
But the Alaska official insisted their situation is different from Toroman and Purves' since Compton is considered a permanent resident of the country, having been married to former model Michelle Astudillio since August 2010.
“Alex is married to a Filipina, just like (San Mig coach) Tim Cone and (Talk ‘N Text coach) Norman Black,” said the Alaska official.
Unlike Black, Cone, and Compton, Toroman and Purves are non-resident aliens and therefore are required to secure work permits from the Department of Labor and Employment - and therefore are covered by the Court of Appeals ruling.
Cone along with Black are currently the longest-staying foreign coaches in the pro league, although the two were likewise once under fire from BCAP during the early years of their careers in the PBA.
Cone and Black are no longer considered non-resident aliens the moment their immigration status changed after marrying their Filipina wives.
The 56-year-old Black is married to Benjie Davila, mother of former Sta. Lucia player Chris Tan, while Cone’s wife is Cristina Viaplana, the sister of ex-La Salle Green Archer Eddie Viaplana.
The 5-foot-11 Compton first broke into the local basketball scene as one of the foreign players who suited up for the Manila Metrostars in the defunct Metropolitan Basketball Association.
Compton, who can also fluently speak Filipino and Ilocano, served as one of Trillo’s deputies – along with Louie Alas and Topex Robinson – before he was named head coach of the Aces.
In an official statement by the franchise, Trillo said he is stepping down from his post in order to “spend more time with his family.”
The Aces see no transition problem from Trillo to Compton as the former Cornell University standout has been with Alaska for almost two years now and has a better understanding of the system.