Even as he lamented the loss to Barangay Ginebra San Miguel late Friday, which he said “would have changed our destiny,” Globalport coach Pido Jarencio gave his players the truth about the daunting task that confronts them.
“Must win tayo sa last four games natin,” Jarencio told them inside the Cuneta Astrodome locker room. “Talo tayo ng isa, out tayo for sure.”
Jarencio couldn’t be more urgent although what he was asking his players to accomplish may be a virtual Mission: Impossible, considering the quality of opposition they will be facing in at least three of their four remaining assignments in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup elimination.
Starting with San Miguel Beer today, the Batang Pier are looking at four straight do-or-die games or roughly the equivalent of sweeping four after falling behind 0-3 in a best-of-7 series.
They take on Rain or Shine next on March 31, then yet unbeaten leader Talk ‘N Text on April 11, and finally Barako Bull with the explosive Josh Dollard on April 13.
The Road to Calvary would be upon the Batang Pier ahead of the Lenten Season. But hope, even a frantic one, flows in Jarencio’s veins.
“Kung ganito ang nilaro namin noong first four games, malamang meron kaming mga tinalo,” he said. “Consistency na lang sa maliliit na bagay ang kulang namin e. Pero andiyan na yung team.”
Globalport had Ginebra reeling that night. But two ill-advised fouls deep into the game, both in penalty and including one where point guard LA Tenorio got trapped in a double-team situation but ended up on the foul line, allowed the Kings to dodge the bullet.
“Sayang. Andoon pa kami at that point,” Jarencio said. “Pero ganoon talaga pag medyo me frustration na dahil sa talo. Di ka na makapag-isip ng maayos kasi nga nagpa-panic na e.”
Changing imports to salvage the conference is no longer an option, said the former University of Santo Tomas mentor, who took over at Globalport from former Atenean Ritchie Ticzon after the Philippine Cup.
“Wala na, malabo na yan,” Jarencio said. “Binibigay naman noong tao [Evan Brock] yung lahat ng magagawa niya e. Pero di naman puwede na siya lahat ang re-rebound, susupalpal at su-shoot. Kailangan me contribution din ang locals, team effort. Totoo, me mga mistakes siya sa end game pero given na yon sa haba ng nilalaro niya; pagod na rin siya.”
And so Jarencio continues to go through his baptism of fire as a rookie PBA coach, with the flames engulfing him. It helps, of course, that he has had some experience dealing with the heat before.
“Yung first part ng coaching ko sa college, dumapa rin naman tayo. Galing din sa ilalim,” he said. “Naka-recover lang tayo noong makuha natin yung formula at maging consistent yung team.”
And at Globalport?
“Ngayon naman, siempre pag natatalo ka, andon yung frustration ng grupo at yung doubt nang mga nasa labas,” Jarencio said. “Okey lang yon. Ang importante, we’re on the right track. Kung baga sa gulong, nasa baba kami ngayon. But darating yung panahon, aakyat din kami. We’ll develop our young players, learn from our mistakes and keep improving.”
When does he figure that wheel to start turning?
“Aba, kung two or three conferences na e ganito pa rin tayo… teka, magisip-isip muna tayong lahat,” Jarencio said.