MANILA, Philippines – For the past four days leading up to Game 2 of the UAAP Season 75 Finals, head coaches Norman Black of the Ateneo and Pido Jarencio of the University of Sto. Tomas engaged in a verbal tussle through the media.
Jarencio fired the first shot immediately after Ateneo’s 83-78 victory in Game 1 last Saturday, claiming that the officiating was biased against the Growling Tigers. Black then responded by saying that Jarencio’s remarks were uncalled for, and that the statistics did not back up his assertions.
But once the buzzer sounded after Game 2 of the Finals, which Ateneo won 65-62 to clinch their fifth straight championship, the two coaches put the war of words behind them.
With the confetti falling and the Blue Eagles celebrating inside the court, Jarencio and Black shook hands and hugged.
Both coaches later said that the bad words of the past week were brought about by the heat of the competition.
“The events of the last few days were unfortunate for the two us,” Black said. “We’ve never had any problems in the past.”
Black pointed out that he was Jarencio’s first coach in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).
“It’s just something that goes along with the competition. Obviously, he’s yellow and I’m blue. We’re trying to fight it out to win a championship. Sometimes, things just get out of control a little bit, and we get a little hotheaded,” Black said.
“I just told him that he has a very strong team, and that it was a great game,” Black said, adding that there was not enough time to say much at the moment.
“I have a lot of respect for Coach Pido, he’s a very good coach. I also think he has a very good team, and they should be one of the favourites next year,” he added.
The normally fiery Jarencio, meanwhile, was subdued speaking to the media after his team’s loss, but did not hesitate to give credit to Black and the Blue Eagles.
“Hats off to Coach Norman. Yung five years, nakuha niya ang championship,” Jarencio said. “Sinabi ko lang sa kanya, good game, congratulations.”
“Madali naman kaming magbasahan ng utak, ganoon naman ‘yun eh. Alam niya naman siguro kung ano ‘yung iniisip niya sa akin, kung ano man ‘yung mga nasabi ko sa kanya. Ako rin naman, alam ko rin kung ano ‘yung mga sinagot niya sa sinabi ko,” Jarencio added.
“Kami rito, basketball lang naman ito. Kanya-kanya kung paano ka makakalamang.”
But even as their tussle in the UAAP has ended, Jarencio and Black will still see each other as they move on to the PBA.
Black is leaving the Blue Eagles after eight years as head coach and will move on to coach the Talk N Text Tropang Texters, while Jarencio will continue his duties as an assistant coach for the Petron Blaze Boosters.