Former Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) star Paul Alvarez, was caught using shabu with two others in a hidden den in Quezon City over the weekend.
Chief Supt. Guillermo Eleazar, Quezon City Police District director, said Alvarez, 48, and his companions were arrested at around 8 p.m. on Saturday after operatives raided a barbershop at the corner of Anonas Extension and V. Luna Avenue in Sikatuna Village, Quezon City.
Eleazar said operatives were serving a warrant of arrest on Alvarez for a case of slight physical injuries arising from a brawl in a bar at Timog Avenue in October last year. They saw Alvarez sniffing shabu in a den behind the barbershop with Mohammad Dana, 29, and Ray Allan Cruz, 36.
Confiscated from Alvarez and his two cohorts were five sachets of shabu weighing 2.13 grams and with estimated street value of P15,000, five aluminum foil strips with traces of shabu, and other drug paraphernalia.
Tests showed all three suspects positive for drugs. Cases for violations of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 were filed against Alvarez and his companions.
Five years ago, Alvarez surrendered to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in to undergo drug rehabilitation for six months.
Alvarez grew up in a rough neighborhood in Quiapo, Manila and went to San Sebastian College where he started playing basketball in 1985. He joined the PBA in 1989 and his star rose with sports media dubbing him as “Mr. Excitement” because of his high-flying and slam-dunk moves in the 1990s. He retired from professional basketball in 2005.
It was downhill for Alvarez off the court. Prior to his latest arrest, he had a string of cases, all attributed to his addiction to drugs and alcohol.
Police records revealed that Alvarez was detained in Police Station 10 in Kamuning district in October 2016, after he figured in a bar brawl with a certain John Mendoza, but was later released on bail. However, he refused to attend court hearings.
Last April 24, he was arrested by Baguio police for mauling his girlfriend Maryanne Ting. He was charged for violating the Anti-violence against Women and their Children Act.
He has two more cases of physical injuries, filed by a taxi driver and a female television reporter in August 2007.
A case of adultery was filed against him after he was caught having an illicit affair with a businessman’s wife in Makati City in 2003.
He was shot in the buttocks in Quiapo in the 1990s because of an altercation.
‘Not the first time’
Long time agent Danny Espiritu was not surprised about Alvarez’s arrest on Saturday night.
He said this was not the first time the former PBA star, who played for different teams – Alaska, Sta. Lucia, Shell, San Miguel Beer, Ginebra, AIR21 and TNT – was involved in drugs.
“There is nothing new about it and I’m not surprised about the news,” Espiritu told The Manila Times on Sunday in a phone interview. “I’m really saddened about what happened. He was a role model before.”
He said Alvarez had asked him for financial help many times for various reasons. “He came into the games and asked for money to pay for his electric bill or some other things. Although I had an idea where he was going to spend the money, I still gave him some cash,” Espiritu said.
“But this time, if ever he’s out of jail, I will no longer give financial help even if he asks. My friends in the PBA are also blaming me for doing that. Every time I talked to him, he was polite and said he had already changed for good,” he added.
“But I had my doubts because of his physical looks. I’m always reminding all the players to stay away from drugs. It will only destroy them,” Espiritu said.
Last May 11, former PBA player Dorian Pena was arrested by anti-narcotics agents in Mandaluyong City. He was caught with two companions in possession of shabu and drug paraphernalia.
JOSEF T. RAMOS