NOT even a couple of good reasons to be more positive could make NorthPort coach Pido Jarencio abandon his wary ways for the coming PBA Governors Cup.
Jarencio wants the Batang Pier to let their game, anchored on a more seasoned Robert Bolick and a do-it-all import in Mychal Ammons, do the talking.
“Basta laban lang bawat laro,” said Jarencio. “Kung anuman achievements last conference dapat lagpasan pa.”
Jarencio’s caution is understandable.
NorthPort is coming off a relatively fruitful campaign in the last Commissioner’s Cup, finishing a franchise-best second in the eliminations and coming up just one stop away from upending eventual champion San Miguel Beer in their quarterfinals duel.
Undeniably, a large part of that success should be credited to import Prince Ibeh, a long-limbed center who swatted away shots, rebounded and, overall, provided an intimidating inside presence for NorthPort.
At 6-foot-5, Ammons may not be as tall as the seven-foot Ibeh, but Jarencio sees some similarities.
“Para siyang si Prince Ibeh na tutulong sa team,” said Jarencio. “Kung ano ‘yung kulang ng team, tutulungan niya tayo doon, especially on defense, hustle, and quickness.”
That is the main reason, added Jarencio, why he took notice when the former South Alabama standout first saw action here for TNT in the season-ending tournament’s 2016 edition.
Then coming in as a replacement for Mario Little, Ammons averaged 14.75 points, 12.9 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in 12 games for the KaTropa.
“Meron akong nakita sa kanya na p’wede niyang itulong sa team,” Jarencio said of Ammons. “Hindi siya ‘yung spectacular na ii-score ng malaki, but he can help us out in the other departments.”
After his stint with TNT, Ammons displayed his wares in Argentina, Qatar and, most recently, in Mexico where he was an All-Star, a champion with the Tijuana Zonkeys and a Finals MVP. In 37 games there, he averaged 16.7 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.8 assists.
Aside from Ammons, other newcomers to NorthPort are Jerramy King and Russell Escoto, acquired from Columbian through separate deals and should help the team along with its usual stalwarts led by Sean Anthony and Mo Tautuaa.
Add Bolick to that list.
Already displaying game far beyond his rookie status, Bolick further gained immeasurable experience following his stint with Gilas Pilipinas in the FIBA World Cup.
It’s now a matter of translating those lessons into more game.
“Malaking tulong sa kanya iyon, maging national player… at World Cup pa,” said jarencio.