Guiao asks for investigation on 'suspicious' PBA Draft lottery

MANILA, Philippines - "This is just to inform the public that we're pursuing our intenion to have the lottery draw investigated and if possible to have a re-draw."

After winning Game 2 of the best-of-5 Finals series over the San Mig Super Coffee Mixers Thursday night, July 3, Yeng Guiao, head coach of the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, made the announcement during the post-game press conference that the Painters intend to ask for an explanation if not an investigation over the PBA Rookie Draft lottery.

"We thought it was just crude, it was lacking in credibility. And I don't think the issue is just the process. The process needs to be improved. But I guess it's really the credibility and the integrity of the process itself and the Commissioner who was conducting the lottery draw," Guiao explained before the media inside the Smart Araneta Coliseum press room.

According to Guiao, the team plans to submit a formal letter of intent on Friday, July 4. They wish to elevate the matter to the PBA Board.

The lottery, which occured right before Game 1 of the Finals on Tuesday, July 1 at the Mall of Asia Arena, aimed to determine which between the Globalport Batang Pier and the Meralco Bolts will get the first overall pick for the 2014 PBA Rookie Draft to be held on August 24.

The fiery coach said the lottery, which saw Commissioner Chito Salud drawing among 3 balls in a box at centercourt of the Arena, looked "suspicious" and cited specific instances that caused them to question the process.

"We were 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 it was the Commissioner who put the balls inside and then he was also the one who picked it out," Guiao enumerated.

"And the most fatal flaw is that the Commissioner did not show his hands after he put the ball in the box."

There were 3 balls used for the lottery with two of them representing Globalport, the last team in the standings, giving them a higher probability of gaining the first pick. The third ball had the Bolts' name on it.

Salud drew Globalport for the first overall pick in this year's rookie draft.

"We are the aggrieved party here because the Meralco draft pick is our draft pick," Guiao pointed out. "And the PBA knew that."

Rain or Shine acquired Meralco's first round pick in a trade.

Asked if he believes the lottery was rigged, Guiao simply said,"To say the least, probably, it's suspicious."

He added, "To us it's a question of credibility, it's a question of integrity."

Guiao criticized the way the lottery was conducted and emphasized transparency.

"I think it's for the good of the league that number one, all those things I mentioned be clarified. Why is there not a proper way of doing the lottery? Why do we have to subject ourselves to a crude method? If we cannot conduct a credible, simple lottery draw, how can we conduct a credible professional basketball league?"

He also rounded back to the non-call of a foul on Rain or Shine guard Paul Lee in the controversial final play of Game 1, which the PBA ruled in a statement as a "straight-up borderline call that could have gone either way."

FOUL OR NO FOUL? Paul Lee (dark) tried to fish for the foul from a three-point attempt in the final play of Game 1 but did not get the call. Photo by Josh Albelda/Rappler

FOUL OR NO FOUL? Paul Lee (dark) tried to fish for the foul from a three-point attempt in the final play of Game 1 but did not get the call.

Photo by Josh Albelda/Rappler

The statement added, "It was a down the line, 50-50 judgment call. It can be debated and second guessed, but the referees' judgment cannot be faulted under the circumstances."

Guiao believes there should have been a foul, which would have given Lee three free throws and the chance to tie the game and send it to overtime.

"We are again the aggrieved party. Nakakahalata na ako, parati kaming aggrieved party." (I'm beginning to notice that we're always the aggrieved party.) ā€“