MANILA - Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao has called for an investigation and a redraw of the PBA draft lottery which was conducted by league Commissioner Chito Salud before Game 1 of the PBA Governors' Cup Finals last Tuesday.
"We're pursuing our intention to have the lottery draw investigated and if possible, to have a re-draw... because we thought it was just crude. It was lacking in credibility,” the coach said during the post-game press conference following Rain or Shine’s Game 2 victory over San Mig Coffee.
The lottery involved the No. 1 and No. 2 draft picks to be raffled off to season’s last placer GlobalPort and Meralco, the second lowest ranking team. Rain or Shine already acquired Meralco's from a previous trade.
The PBA commissioner officiated the draw, placing two Globalport balls and one Meralco ball in a box. After placing all the three balls inside the box, Salud picked one that turned to be Globalport's. This, in effect, awarded the No. 1 pick to the Batang Pier.
But Guiao pointed out that when Salud placed the balls inside the box, the commissioner did not pull out his hand and immediately went on to pull out the draw. Adding to suspicions was that the box used in the draw was not transparent, thereby covering Salud’s hand while choosing the winning ball.
"We we're just wondering why we did not have any representative close range during the lottery draw. We were wondering why the box was not transparent. We were wondering why the commissioner was the one who put the balls inside and he was one who picked it out," said Guiao.
"The most fatal flaw is that the commissioner did not show his hands after he put the ball in the box."
The coach felt that they were at the losing end of the draw because they owned Meralco’s pick.
"We are the aggrieved party here because the Meralco draft pick is our draft pick. The PBA knew that," he stressed.
Salud, meanwhile, apologized after hearing Guiao's assertions.
The PBA chieftain said he now understood the coach’s concern after reviewing the footage of the draw.
"I have seen the video of the Draft Lottery I recently conducted. I can now also see and understand why people have expressed concerns, some even doubts. This is an entirely avoidable issue and I apologize to our fans, our teams and coaches for the distraction it has caused," he said in a statement.
Salud, however, maintained the integrity of the draw. He instead promised that changes will be implemented to assure transparency and truthfulness in future draws.
"Improvements could have easily been instituted had I given this more attention. It simply never occurred to me that the whole process looked crude as Coach Guiao called it. It may have appeared unrefined, but it was an honest draw," said Salud.
"Improvements will be implemented anchored on fullest transparency." -- With a report from Nelson Beltran, The Philippine Star