Yeng Guiao goes easy on PBA officiating, for now, following offseason innovations
“Akala ko nga 'yung player ko sina-substitute nila, e. 'Yung referee pala ang sina-substitute,” says Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao on the latest innovation in league officiating. Jerome Ascano

HE may still have some reservations on game officials, but in a rare instance, officiating appeared to have gotten a passing mark from Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao right on opening night of the PBA 41st season.

At least for this case, Guiao commended the league’s new innovation on officiating that will allow referees’ substitutions during the middle of the game.

Nol Quilinguen, Jun Marabe, Rey Yante, and Rommel Gruta were the officials who worked the Elasto Painters’ 96-87 win over Star Hotshots in the first game of the season-opening Philippine Cup.

“Akala ko nga 'yung player ko sina-substitute nila, e. 'Yung referee pala ang sina-substitute,” said a smiling Guiao as he recalled the first time in the game when the referee was substituted.

“I think it’s something worth trying. The results will prove naman whether it will be good or not. But it’s always good to experiment.”

[See Rain or Shine opens season in fine style]

Guiao was whistled for his first technical foul of the season right in his debut, but nonetheless sees the good side in this latest innovation the league adopted in its effort to improve its much-maligned officials.

He said the move will somehow encourage referees to stay on their toes.

“It’s also psychological on the part of the refs that they know they can be substituted, so they need to give their best,” said Guiao, a former commissioner of the defunct Philippine Basketball League (PBL).

“If they’re tired they can also be substituted. Mahirap din ‘yung nagre-referee ka na pagod ka. So it’s also good in that matter. Not necessarily making mistakes but just to keep you in top form while officiating.”

In the end, Guiao said the new ruling could even set a trend not only in Asia’s first ever play-for-pay league but worldwide.

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“I guess baka pag nabalitaan ng Fiba ito or NBA baka gawin din nila. Maybe we’re setting a trend somehow,” he stressed.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @gerardmos