PBA commissioner Chito Salud on Wednesday defended his decision to slap Yeng Guiao with a one-game suspension at a crucial stage in the Philippine Cup playoffs, saying the fiery Rain or Shine coach "brought it upon himself and his organization" for behavior that was simply unacceptable in the league.
The league chief also said Guiao was misdirecting the issue when he told Spin.ph on Wednesday that his outburst was caused by "bad officiating" - the real issue, Salud said, was the coach flashing an obscene gesture at league officials during Game Four of Rain or Shine's semifinal playoff against Petron.
They Said It!
“To justify (coach Yeng Guiao's) behavior (by blaming officiating) is misdirecting the public." - PBA commissioner Chito Salud
"I agree that officiating is of public interest. And the PBA is doing everything to make it more consistent. As I've always said from the moment I took on this job, integrity is non-negotiable as far as officiating is concerned. I have no problem with his statement," Salud told Spin.ph.
"But officiating is not the issue at hand here. (Guiao) was not suspended because of the officiating. Let's stick to the real issue. (His behavior) was simply not acceptable and I will never tire in upholding sportsmanship and decency in this league," the lawyer added.
"To justify your behavior (by blaming officiating) is misdirecting the public."
The suspension will leave Rain or Shine, up 3-1, without its head coach when the Painters try to wrap up their best-of-seven semifinal playoff against Petron. The fiery coach was also ejected from the two previous games of the series on technicals.
Still, Salud said Guiao has only himself to blame for the Painters' predicament in Game Five.
"He brought it upon himself and his organization," said Salud, pointing out that the suspension "was not attributed to officiating."
The 'dirty finger' incident was actually the second one for Guiao this season, having been previously fined P6,000 after he was caught on television flashing an obscene gesture at the referees in a game against Ginebra last November.
Asked if a suspension and a P100,000 fine were merited after the outspoken Guiao's latest brush with league rules, Salud said he has no doubt that he did the right thing.
"Whenever I make a decision, I always stick to the merits (of the case). I look at the act, its gravity, and its impact on the league," the league chief said. "After considering everything and his obvious disrespect for the league, I believe it is (justified).
"It is my duty to protect the league as an institution. His act of flashing a dirty finger (at league officials) is clearly an indication of his disdain and contempt for the league."