THE irony wasn't lost on Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao when he heard the news that his player, Paul Lee, had clinched Gilas Pilipinas' 80-79 victory over host China in the Fiba Asia Cup by fishing for a foul at the buzzer and hitting the winning free throws.
The circumstances afterall were eerily similar to the final moments of Game One of the last Governors Cup Final against San Mig, when Lee faked off Marc Pingris as the game clock was running down but failed to get the call from the PBA referees.
This time, Lee got two Chinese defenders in the air with a fake and got the referees to blow their whistle with more or less the same contact as Pingris, setting the stage for the three free throws that clinched for Gilas a podium finish.
"Sayang, we could've won Game One (against San Mig) if we got the same call," said Guiao when reached by phone, shortly after Gilas' improbable victory.
Askd if he considered it a vindication for Rain or Shine, Guiao said: "Actually, I don't think its vindication on our part. I think it was a validation of the argument we put forward."
Commissioner Chito Salud later upheld the non-call on Pingris in the final moments of Game One, saying it was a "borderline 50-50 call."
But now Guiao said the Wuhan play may prove otherwise.
"It was only sad that Paul had to go to China to get the same call against the Chinese," Guiao said. "He couldn't get the same call here."