RAIN or Shine players better not expect coach Yeng Guiao to be in a nice mood on Christmas Day.
He's an angry and desperate man.
After the Elasto Painters fell behind 1-2 to Alaska in their PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series following a 78-94 loss on Monday night, Guiao made it known the team has no other recourse but win Game Four on Christmas Day if it hopes to keep alive its dream of a first-ever all-Filipino championship.
The fiery Guiao couldn't emphasize that point enough that the whole team was holed up inside its dugout long after the lights went out of the Mall of Asia Arena court, prompting guard Chris Tiu to tweet later, "Longest post-game sermon. Think that was more than 1 hour. Need to play better."
Actually it was less than an hour, but the urgency of Guiao's message perhaps made it feel longer for the players.
“I just reminded them that the Christmas Day game is a must-win for us,” said Guiao after emerging from the dugout.
Guiao didn't even finish the game, getting tossed on successive technicals early in the second quarter. Big man Beau Belga soon followed suit as frustration over officiating boiled over.
“We got frustrated with the bad officiating. We lost our focus, so iyun ang unang naging problema namin, which later complicated matters when I got ejected, then Beau (Belga) got ejected,” Guiao said.
Nothing went right for the Painters on this night. They made just 33 percent of their shots and, without a Belga to throw his weight around inside the paint, were dominated off the boards by the Aces, 45-57, as Calvin Abueva got 14 boards and Eric Menk 10.
Adding insult to injury was the Aces’ lopsided 17-2 advantage in second chance points, including eight straight during the last three minutes of the match that sealed the victory.
“Their (Aces) offensive rebounds really got us in the fourth quarter. At least eight points of the offensive rebounds, and then, things got complicated for us after officiating went bad,” rued Guiao.
Guiao said in as much as they wanted to right the ship despite a bad shooting night that saw them just shot 33 percent from the field overall, officiating somehow affected their plays, as well.
“That’s part of it (bad game). Our regular shooting average was way off from the three-point line. In fact, I was asking the guys to find other ways to attack instead of settling for the three-point shot, but again, we couldn’t get the refs to call the fouls on us when we were attacking,” said the 55-year-old Rain or Shine coach.
Guiao said he has given his team a one-day break on Tuesday to be refreshed physically and mentally, before returning to practice on Wednesday.
By Christmas Day, he expects every single Rain or Shine player to be in a grim, fighting mood.