B-MEG coach Tim Cone on Sunday admitted that the physical nature of Game One frustrated him and the Llamados, leading to their stunning downfall, 91-80, against underdogs Rain or Shine Elasto Painters.
“It’s one thing to be strong physically; another thing to get hit, to elbow people,” said Cone, insinuating the Elasto Painters were hurting the Llamados on purpose to take them out of their game.
If Cone's allegation was accurate, Rain or Shine then did succeed, with Cone as the biggest casualty.
The B-Meg coach was ejected from the game with eight minutes to go for throwing a monoblock chair at center court after what he perceived was a glaring non-call on a foul against star player James Yap.
The Llamados were trailing, 64-75, when Cone was tossed out for flagrant misconduct.
“I made a mistake, let my frustration get hold of me,” said Cone of the incident. “I shouldn’t have done that. But at some point, you just have to make a statement. I just don’t want guys getting hurt out there.”
Tempers flared in the series opener with several instances of pushing and shoving among the players, particularly Marc Pingris and JR Quinahan, tough guys Jerwin Gaco and JR Ibanes, and import Jamelle Cornley and Yancy De Ocampo, who almost came to blows under the B-Meg basket midway through the second quarter.
Cone said his pleas for the referees to control the game obviously fell on deaf ears.
“I just got tired of yelling, just got tired of pleading,” he added. “The physicality is great out there, and the guys were just getting frustrated.”
Rain or Shine was whislted for more fouls than B-Meg, 26-22. The Llamados also had 29 free throws awarded compared to the 23 of the Elasto Painters.
The Llamados, who needed to survive Barangay Ginebra in sudden-death on Friday, 74-72, to make the Finals for the second straight conference, weren't tired according to Cone.
"It's more than being tired, it's more than us being frustrated," he said
Cone said he plans to bring the matter up to the Commissioner’s Office, and clarify how the referees should call the remaining games of the best-of-seven series.
Asked if he was expecting Rain or Shine to play a physical game against them, the Llamados coach responded in the affirmative.
“That’s the way they play. We just have to respond to it,” he said. “But I’m afraid people will get hurt if we do that.”