NLEX coach Yeng Guiao was relieved that his ejection turned out to be a blessing in disguise as the Road Warriors played their best defensive game of the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup in their win over Alaska.
Guiao was sent off in the second period after two successive technical fouls for complaining, but his ejection appeared to be the fuel NLEX needed to come away with a 91-70 win over the Aces on Wednesday.
“Profane language daw eh. Dati naman ako ganun,” said the national coach with a smile when asked about the ejection. “I don’t think it was extraordinary for me. But it turned out to be a blessing in disguise.”
Guiao commended stand-in coach Jojo Lastimosa and the Road Warriors for sticking to the game plan on defense that led to the Aces shooting just 28 percent from the field the entire match.
“Coach Jolas did an excellent job taking over for me. Plus the guys stepped up. It was our defense that did it for us. I was pretty confident kahit wala ako sa loob. As long as we execute the game plan, we will be okay,” said Guiao.
“Well-prepared naman ‘yung team defensively against Alaska. Plus, we caught Alaska on a really bad night. Siguro, law of averages na they played really well against Ginebra. Tinambakan nila Ginebra. Meron talagang ups and downs. It just so happened that we played probably our best defensive game on their off night,” Guiao said.
Guiao dedicated the victory to NLEX president Rod Franco, who celebrated his birthday on Tuesday but was confined in a hospital on Wednesday due to low blood sugar.
“We really wanted to win one for him. I’m sure he will be happy with the win especially with what happened against San Miguel,” said Guiao, referring to their 121-111 loss to San Miguel last Sunday.
The win, however, couldn't complete wash away Guiao's anger at missed calls.
Guiao said the hit by Jake Pascual on Juami Tiongson late in the second quarter should have been a flagrant foul penalty two instead of a flagrant foul penalty one.
“Sometimes you blow your top. Sometimes, I think we need to send a message to the referees. For one, I think ‘yung nangyari kay Juami should have been an F2. Sinadya siyang hatawin sa mukha. To me, that’s a clear F2. Siguro ‘yung other missed calls or bad calls, I was still watching sa dugout on TV. I could still see a lot of them.
“Another thing is Juami, nasa midcourt, nagbanggaan lang sila nung Alaska player, they called a foul on Juami. I think those things should not be taken for granted. Those things should be taken up during their deliberations.
“Parang naglu-loosen up tayo sa officiating. And these are the crucial stage,” said Guiao.