THE talk about Rain or Shine being an overly aggressive team had always been exaggerated to the point that rival teams have now become “paranoid,” according to Painters coach Yeng Guiao.
“We play physical and we play rugged, but it’s been really exaggerated probably and teams have been paranoid against us,” Guiao told sportswriters during Monday’s pre-Finals press conference at the Sambokojin Restaurant in Eastwood City, Libis.
The Painters came out winners in a physical semifinal series against Alaska to set up a title showdown against San Mig Coffee starting on Tuesday at MOA Arena.
The fiery Rain or Shine coach stressed that during their rough and tumble semifinals series against the Aces, there was no player on his team who was assessed with a flagrant foul penalty despite their seeming “rugged plays.”
“In the last playoffs, I do not recall a single guy from our team having been called for a flagrant foul, not one single guy. But the opposing team, probably, feeling paranoid, they’ve had two guys ejected. They have flagrant fouls called, but not one flagrant foul called on our team,” he added.
Actually, three Alaska players were ejected from the semifinal series against Rain or Shine — Gabby Espinas in Game Two, import Henry Walker in Game Four, while sophomore third-string playmaker Raphael Reyes followed in Game Five.
“It’s just maybe a reputation. It’s a state of mind, but when you go to the game, you just play your natural way of playing the game,” he said.
“Sometimes, it’s (game) rough but it’s our natural way of playing the game. That’s how we practice and that’s how we put it in our heads,” added the Rain or Shine mentor, who is also a first-term congressman of the First District of Pampanga.
“We’re not out there to hurt anybody, but if they hurt us, we try to defend ourselves. That’s the natural way because the most basic right of a person is to defend yourself.”