Sep 14, 2021

Jarencio will have hands full in return to sideline as NorthPort battles frontrunner TNT

AFTER more than three weeks of quarantine, coach Pido Jarencio is excited to be back on the sidelines and personally calling the shots anew for NorthPort.

He just didn't know part of his welcoming committee would be the TNT Tropang Giga, who the Batang Pier would be battling Wednesday in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Don Honorio Ventura State University Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.

"Ang gandang welcome back sa akin, TNT agad," quipped Jarencio shortly after the final schedule for the week was released by the league Tuesday afternoon.

Game time is 3 p.m.

"Pero ganoon talaga and tingnan na lang natin kung papaano magiging practice ng mga bata mamaya," added Jarencio. "For sure, naka-focus naman mga players and ready kami."

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Jarencio was cleared to coach over the weekend after he and his team went through the league's health and safety protocols since entering the province late last month.

When the Batang Pier were cleared to play starting Sept. 9, team manager Bonnie Tan stood in and saw to it that the gameplan Jarencio and his staff drew up were executed to the fullest, resulting in three wins in as many games.

Now at sixth-running spot on a 4-3 card, NorthPort would continue its climb up in the standings with another victory.

TNT, however, is on a mini-roll of its own after winning its last two games that not only formally pushed it to the quarterfinals on an 8-1 record but also kept it on track for a top two finish at the end of the 11-game eliminations and a win-once advantage over a low-seeded team in the ensuing quarterfinals.

Coach Chot Reyes prefers to keep his Tropa's sights trained on the task at hand. "We want to make sure to keep our focus on what's in front of us," he stressed.

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"I think these are times where your ability to address what's in front of you is what's important, so 'yun lang iniisip namin. Hindi muna namin iniisip ang record o future," added Reyes.

"So sa amin, 'yun ang unang pinaka-importante. Focus now at the task at hand, which is the game at hand. We're not really looking too far ahead."

Jarencio is sort of adopting the same attitude even if his side still has other matches against Magnolia Ang Pambansang Manok and Rain or Shine.

"Mabigat ang TNT, pero basta magtuloy-tuloy lang magandang laro ng mga bata mas gaganda chances namin," said Jarencio, while adding Greg Slaughter, who sat out a 96-94 win over NLEX last Sunday due to a skin infection, remains questionable for the TNT game. (NC)