PBA officials letting TnT import Ivan Johnson act with impunity, claims Yeng Guiao
Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao rues Talk 'N Text import Ivan Johnson has been in the middle of every skirmish that has marred the PBA Finals - yet gets away unpunished. Jaime Campos

RAIN or Shine coach Yeng Guiao said league referees have lost control of the ongoing PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals, the reason physicality nearly escalated into a full-blown brawl in Game Four on Wednesday night.

Shoving, tackling, grappling and trash-talking have been prevalent in the first four games of the best-of-seven title series with Talk ‘N Text import Ivan Johnson right in the middle of most of the incidents, according to Guiao.

“Again, we were the victims,” said a frustrated Guiao, shortly after Rain or Shine lost, 92-99, in a Game Four marred by the ejection of Rain or Shine duo Jireh Ibanes and JR Quinahan and Talk 'N Text rookie Matt Ganuelas-Rosser.

Guiao claimed rough play has escalated in the series because the referees let Johnson get away with anything, citing as example the wayward elbow that left Paul Lee with a bloodied mouth. 

“In Game Three, yung import nila si Johnson, charged into Paul and it wasn’t called a charging foul. But it was clearly a charging foul,” recalled the fiery Rain or Shine mentor.

“The next time he (Johnson) did it on Paul, may kasama ng siko, and that’s the reason why he (Lee) broke his teeth. But if they had only called the foul the first time he barged into Paul, which was a real foul, di na sana nangyari 'yung pangalawa kay Paul.”

The outspoken coach was also wondering why the Office of the Commissioner wasn’t doing anything to investigate Johnson’s post-game actions, which he said included challenging Rain or Shine guard Ryan Arana to a fistfight.

Guiao stressed that judging from Johnson’s brief history this conference, he already got away from a number of post-game verbal tussles and extra motions in past games. Yet, the league failed to act on them, he added.

“That’s been the story eh. Bago niya ako binangga (in Game One), binangga niya si Gabe (Norwood), binangga niya si Raymund (Almazan). But the refererees just let it go, so lumakas loob niya, pati coach binangga niya,” said Guiao.

“'Yung last game, hinabol niya si Ryan after the game, I don’t see the league doing anything about it. Eh hinabol niya si (Marc) Pingris saka (Alaska coach) Alex Compton.” he added.

“So I mean, why ignore that  or turn your head to those things? Ano ba ginagawa ng liga dun? Every game na lang, so  puputok at puputok talaga ang nangyari kanina.”


[See Talk 'N Text levels finals with Rain or Shine after winning fight-marred Game Four]

Guiao, however, said the increased physicality won’t prevent the team from fighting through the remaining games of the Finals series.

“It (physicality) will escalate if they (referees) will allow it to escalate. Pero maglalaro naman kami. Both teams, ibibigay nila ang makakaya, but the referees are supposed to control the game and protect the players,” said Guiao.

Ibanes and JR Quinahan will appear before Commissioner Chito Salud on Thursday, 10 a.m, while it will be Ganuelas-Rosser's turn at 9 a.m.

Ibanes and Ganuelas-Rosser were both ejected in the fourth period after engaging in a shoving incident. Quinahan was also thrown out for throwing the basketball at Ganuelas-Rosser. He was slapped with a flagrant foul penalty 2.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @richava