AN obviously upset Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio said Yeng Guiao’s “ungentlemanly” approach to some of his players at the end of Game Two was something the Bolts will have to overcome if they intend to beat Rain or Shine in their winner-take-all game on Saturday.
Gregorio admitted being upset after hearing Guiao call Meralco Fil-Am forward Cliff Hodge “mongoloid” just as both teams were walking back to the dugout while calling import Darnell Jackson an “asshole” during the first half in their PBA Commissioner's Cup quarterfinal playoff.
“I don’t like the verbal abuse my players got from coach Yeng,” said Gregorio shortly after Meralco’s 102-93 loss to the Elasto Painters in a highly-physical encounter on Wednesday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Meralco coach said he never failed to remind his players to always go after the ball and not after the player during a rebound battle.
Hodge was caught on television replays hitting Rain or Shine rookie Raymond Almazan with a closed fist just as both players were going after a defensive rebound during the dying seconds of the game.
The 6-foot-7 Almazan dropped to the floor upon contact - a play that caught the ire of Guiao.
At the end of the game, Guiao waited for Hodge to walk out of the court and tried to have a word with the player. As cooler heads intervened, the fiery coach, in the presence of league commissioner Chito Salud and in within earshot of the fans at courtside, Guiao called Hodge `mongoloid.’
Gregorio said he hopes the Bolts will forget about the sad post-Game Two incident and move forward as they try to regroup and get the much-needed win on Saturday.
The Meralco coach said he also hopes his players will keep their focus on the game and not on the officiating.
“I told my players about it (officiating). If we’re just gonna stop and think like the refs didn’t call the necessary foul, we won’t win,” he said. “So the challenge is to find ways to win despite the (officiating) inconsistencies.”