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MANILA, Philippines – Rain or Shine head coach Yeng Guiao expressed anew his disappointment over officiating, after his team dropped Game 4 of their best-of-7 semifinals series against San Miguel Beer in the 2016 PBA Philippine Cup.
The outspoken coach nearly lost his voice from shouting throughout the game, but that did not stop him from declaring that there was no way his team could have won, given the officiating, he perceived, was “getting worse.”
“We did not get the breaks from the refs. Paul (Lee) fouled out in this game but there were at least two fouls that were not supposed to be fouls. One is the blocking foul on (Gabby) Espinas and the other one is on (Chris) Ross. It’s just so disappointing,” Guiao strained to say Monday night, January 11, after the series became tied at 2-2.
“Beau Belga was pushed and he was the one called for a foul. I don’t understand that. We cannot play physical but they can play physical on us. They already have the size advantage and they also have the advantage with those calls I said. So we really did not have a chance in this ballgame,” he further rued.
“Wala kaming pag-asa talaga, lalo kung ganoon ang tawagan (We have no chance at all, if that’s the way they’ll call it). And it’s getting worse.”
Rain or Shine committed a total of 26 fouls in Game 4 while San Miguel had 24. The Painters had 26 free throw attempts and sank 20 of those, as the Beermen had 22 attempts from the line with 16 made.
But the heaviest blow for the Painters came when Paul Lee fouled out with 2.7 seconds left in the third quarter, at a time when the Beermen were amid a huge run.
Lee was whistled for a blocking foul on Gabby Espinas. The starting guard, who finished with 10 points and two assists, collected 4 fouls in all in the third period alone and 3 in the last 2:37 of the same frame.
‘Wala kaming pag-asa talaga, lalo kung ganoon ang tawagan.’
Espinas made one free throw off of the call and San Miguel built its biggest lead of the ballgame at 90-68 entering the fourth. Lee was also assessed a technical foul over a minute earlier.
“Hindi ko na alam kung ano yung foul at kung hindi foul pero natawag na, nangyari (na). Adjust na lang ako next game (I no longer know what’s a foul and what is not but the whistle was already blown, it happened already. I’ll just adjust next game),” the 26-year-old said after the game.
Guiao, a 6-time PBA champion, also sounded off on the state of officiating in the series after Game 3, saying referees “take care of (June Mar) Fajardo too much.”
He said he has yet to approach league commissioner Chito Narvasa to air his concerns and seek clarification – especially with his confusion over what does or does not merit a foul call – because he “was just hoping it would get better. But apparently it did not.”
Despite a very raspy voice, Guiao remained firm in his resolve for the PBA to promote consistency in officiating.
“I do not recommend that (returning to old rules) but I recommend consistency with the calls,” he said, reiterating his longtime stand over the issue.
For this 41st season under Narvasa’s first year as commissioner, the PBA implemented new officiating rules, including a deliberate foul, which is a foul where a player goes for the man and not the ball – duty fouls included, as well as the landing spot rule and shotclock reset.
Stop San Miguel’s 3s
The Painters failed to gain rhythm Monday and fell victim to a 23-3 game-deciding surge late in the third quarter against the rejuvenated Beermen. (READ: Austria’s tough love pays off as San Miguel evens PBA semis)
The final 105-92 score did not reflect the gravity of the 22-point grave Rain or Shine was buried in as reigning back-to-back MVP June Mar Fajardo dominated the boards and San Miguel wingmen connected from the outside.
Although struggling to get breaks of the game, Guiao remained optimistic as they prepare for Game 5 on Wednesday, January 13. (SCHEDULE: 2016 PBA Philippine Cup semifinals)
“It’s still a good series, we still have a great chance in this series considering, if you look at the record, we practically beat them 4 times already (including eliminations). So we know we can beat them,” he said.
“But if you don’t get the breaks in officiating, there’s no way any team can beat them. Kahit na sino, hindi sila tatalunin kung ganyan ang tawagan (No team can beat them if that’s how they’ll call the game).”
Guiao emphasized Rain or Shine need only to shut down San Miguel’s outside shooting, the key weapon that perfectly complements Fajardo in the paint.
“We survived Fajardo scoring 40 points and we can still win. But we cannot survive both Fajardo scoring in the 30s and then somebody else scoring 20s, 18s, 12s,” he said. “Di bale si Fajardo na lang, wag lang yung kumo-connect yung labas nila (We can deal with Fajardo, as long as they don’t connect from the outside).”
Guiao, known to give his players an earful from time to time, also made sure to note he will work on recovering his pipes so he can make sure his team plays with energy in Game 5.
#PBA: Coach Yeng Guiao, who lost his voice, talks about Rain or Shine's loss in Game 4Posted by Jane Yvette Bracher on Monday, 11 January 2016