PBA: Guiao rues breaks, calls after NLEX's q'finals exit

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 02 2022 04:22 PM

NLEX head coach Yeng Guiao. PBA Images.
NLEX head coach Yeng Guiao. PBA Images.

MANILA, Philippines -- NLEX head coach Yeng Guiao is optimistic that their loss to Magnolia in the PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinals will benefit the Road Warriors in the long run, even as he continues to lament the breaks that did not go their way during the game.

NLEX absorbed a 112-106 overtime loss in Game 3 of their quarterfinal series last Sunday, ending their quest of advancing to the semis. Instead, it's Magnolia that arranged a best-of-7 series against defending champion TNT Tropang GIGA.

"We're proud of our effort," Guiao said after the game, which saw the Road Warriors take a three-point lead with a minute to go only to give up a game-tying three-pointer to Paul Lee with just 14 seconds left in regulation.

"We lost on the breaks," the coach added. "We feel na it could have gone either way -- breaks lang talaga."

Guiao noted that they could have been up by four points late, but sophomore forward Calvin Oftana split his free throws for a 97-94 count.

A couple of possessions later, Lee drilled a corner three-pointer to send the game to overtime. There, NLEX had no answer for Jio Jalalon who went a perfect 3-of-3 from the field for seven points, towing Magnolia to victory.

"If we had gotten just two good calls and made just two free throws, kasi 'yung kay Calvin, na-miss niya 'yung una. We could have been [up by] four points bago nai-shoot ni Paul 'yung tres niya," Guiao said.

The coach was also displeased with the officiating, believing that they got the short end of the stick once again from the referees -- something he said was consistent throughout the three-game series.

"We feel na maraming na-miss na call in our favor dapat," rued Guiao.

Though disappointed, Guiao said they cannot dwell on what happened in the series and instead look forward to the next conference. In this regard, he believes that the loss to the Hotshots will work out well for them.

"I'm proud of our effort. We pushed them all the way," said the coach. "This makes us a better team."

"I feel this will go a long way in our development, being a tougher team, being a team that can match-up against the top teams," he added. "Feeling ko, 'yung Magnolia naman could win a championship eh."

"We're up there," he stressed.

While the missed opportunity will sting, Guiao is confident that they can build on the experience heading into the next conference.

"Sa kinatagalan ko na rito, alam ko na you cannot hold on to those disappointments," said Guiao. "You just have to release them and prepare yourself for another conference."