NORTHPORT coach Pido Jarencio was a picture of frustration after yet another sorry loss last Sunday in the PBA Philippine Cup bubble at the Smart 5G-powered AUF Sports Arena in Angeles City.
But the Batang Pier tactician exuded steely resolve.
“Life must go on,” said Jarencio. “Kung matalo kami, we recover.”
Jarencio’s calm facade in the end was in direct contrast to the tempestuous one he exhibited during the waning seconds of a 68-70 heartbreaker to Rain or Shine.
Despite being down to 11 healthy men and playing one of the worst quarters in league history, NorthPort managed to tie the count at 68 with only 3.3 seconds left, fanning expectations of a first overtime period in the bubble.
It was not meant to be.
Paolo Taha was whistled for a foul on a driving Rey Nambatac and the latter canned two free throws for the final count that stood when Sean Manganti’s desperation three-point try was deflected by Javee Mocon.
That foul call left Jarencio fuming mad, slipping off his face mask to shout invectives at the game officials
Jarencio eventually settled down afterwards and said: “Simple lang. Referees should not decide the game. Iyon lang. Hayaan mong players ang mag-decide, huwag ikaw.”
The loss was the third in as many games for the Batang Pier, who went into the bubble minus the injured Robert Bolick. Jonathan Grey was included in the 13-man lineup but still has to fully recover from his own injury while Kevin Ferrer sat out Sunday’s game due to a swollen foot.
Still, Jarencio went into the game firmly believing his team would finally pull one through.
That belief was reinforced when the Batang Pier led early and even sat on a 38-32 halftime lead.
Then came an initial blow in the form of a two-point third quarter when NorthPort made only one of 21 tries from the field and missed two charities.
Jarencio has begun putting the bitter loss behind him, but knows others would find it hard to emulate him.
“Ang frustration ko lang is that we are doing well, kahit na pitong buwan kaming walang laro at hindi maka-kumpleto sa workouts dahil nga sa injuries. Tapos nine days lang na five-on-five, walang tune-ups,” offered Jarencio.
“Mayroong may mga high expectations from us, pero hindi kami maka-deliver,” he added.
“I’m not sour-graping, ayaw kong mag-dahilan. Tatanggapin ko naman lahat. I’m always a person who doesn’t blame anybody but myself. If we lose, it’s on me. If we win, it’s the players. Siguro may part na hindi ko nagawa, but we can also say breaks of the game.”
For Jarencio, it’s now a matter of moving forward. “We are here at may mission tayo,” he said.
“Number one goal is matuloy ‘yung PBA, and number two, we want to entertain people.
Ang sa akin lang, part of the game or sa situation na ito… I’m frustrated kasi 0-2 tayo na naging 0-3. Hindi tayo natalo ng kabila. May ibang nag-decide.
“Pero dito …life must go on.”