NOT even a stirring victory could stop Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao from once again expressing his frustration over the way officiating went in Game Four of its PLDT myDSL-PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series against Petron on Monday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The Elasto Painters held off the Boosters, 88-83, to take a commanding 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series, but Guiao felt his team was once more at the receiving end of bad calls from the referees.
“We really did not beat Petron. We beat the referees,” the outspoken mentor said after the game, citing one call in the waning seconds where he alleged Alex Cabagnot threw a “fist in the face” of Jervy Cruz in a play that was only whistled as a regular foul on the Petron point guard.
Guiao felt Cabagnot broke the nose of Cruz, who missed both free throws that could have extended a five-point Rain or Shine lead. The former University of Santo Tomas stalwart went straight to the hospital after the game.
“I don’t know why they can get away with those and we cannot get away with the touch fouls,” Guiao said. “Swerte lang talaga kami. Gusto lang siguro ng Diyos na makarating kami sa ganito.”
For too much complaining, the fiery coach was ejected for the second straight game after picking up his second technical foul at the 6:15 mark of the third quarter.
Guiao was also thrown out of Game Three in a match the Elasto Painters lost by 33 points, but looked hardly remorseful on Monday night.
“I want the fans to know, I want the people to know what’s going on na they should not just appreciate the finer points of the game, but the finer points of officiating," he said when asked about his constant battle with game officials.
“That’s really how you enjoy the whole thing. Hindi mo naman tatanggapin lahat ng ano … you have to be critical also of the way the game is being called.”
Getting ejected was somehow also a way to motivate his players, said the champion coach.
“Maybe (it was also) to fire them up. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t,” Guiao said.
The ploy worked obviously worked this time as the Elasto Painters had to buck the absence of both Guiao and the injured Paul Lee in the second half.
“I take my hat off to the coaching staff and the rest of the guys for not giving up when I gave up,” Guiao said. “Any team with softer material would’ve folded up, so it’s really a testimony to the character of the guys.”
“We’re certainly less talented, we’re just a small team. We’re not a big conglomerate. We’re a small company, but we are here, so it’s a tribute to their big hearts,” Guiao said of the Asian Coatings franchise owned by Terry Que and Raymond Yu.
Guiao not only hope for a series-clinching victory on Friday, but also for him to see the end of the game on the court.
“Tatapusin ko muna yung laro na hindi na-eeject,” Guiao said, drawing laughter from the waiting scribes as he knows his comments could earn him a summon from league commissioner Chito Salud.
“Kung imbitahan nila ako sa Commissioner’s office, okay lang. Hindi naman ako takot sa kanila,” was his parting shot.