UNDER normal circumstances, it should have been the other way around.
Instead, it’s Tim Cone – and not the temperamental Yeng Guiao – who is in the middle of a growing controversy ahead of Game Two of the PBA Governors Cup Finals on Wednesday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
B-Meg coach Cone found himself slapped with a P23,000-plus fine by the PBA Commissioner’s Office after frustration got the better of him in Game One and led to a chair-throwing tantrum.
The Llamados lost the opener of the best-of-seven title series, 80-91, amid claims by Cone that game officials failed to control the match which he said was marred by several rugged plays by the Elasto Painters.
Coming from where he sits, Rain or Shine's Guiao said he can commiserate with his American counterpart.
“I understand where Tim is coming from,” said the Rain or Shine coach in a sarcastic tone.
“For a team with no superstar player, who’s in the Finals for the first time, and who’s a small company with less salary compared to his team, putting one over them, nakakainis talaga `yun. That’s really frustrating and annoying.”
Guiao noted the PBA itself, upon review of the game tape, didn’t find any malicious intent on the part of his players to hurt B-Meg players on purpose as what Cone had claimed.
“I also thought there’s nothing we did that they didn’t do to us. Perhaps they were even more rugged,” the Rain or Shine coach stressed. “The only difference here was we won the game.”
Up 1-0 in the series, getting embroiled in a controversy is the last thing the Elasto Painters needed when they go for a big follow-up win in Wednesday’s Game Two.
“We don’t want to get distracted with this side issue. We just want to focus and concentrate on the game,” said Guiao.
He also challenged Cone to just call the shots from the bench the way a champion coach should do.
“Tim is just making up excuses. He should take things like a man. It’s only the first game of the series. Momentum can shift evenly either way,” Guiao added.
The Rain or Shine mentor said he won’t be surprised if B-Meg plays even more physical in Game Two, as the burden of determining whether a play is tough or rough falls on the referees.
But he wants to make an exception on one particular statement made by Cone during his post-game interview when he called on the referees to help them (B-Meg) out in "terms of controlling the game."
“I think the league should take note of that. It’s like making a veiled threat to the referees, which could influence the way they will call the series in general,” said Guiao.