MANILA, Philippines – With his team off to their best start in two years, NorthPort head coach Pido Jarencio is asking for more contributions from his big men as the Batang Pier look to sustain their run.
NorthPort improved to 2-0 in the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup on Sunday, after fending off the NLEX Road Warriors, 95-90, at the Araneta Coliseum.
Afterward, Jarencio warned that the Batang Pier has a long way to go, although he was thrilled to have gotten a win over a solid NLEX team.
"'Yung bigs namin, medyo kulang pa 'yung production," Jarencio said when asked what NorthPort needed to improve on.
"Actually, si Mo (Tautuaa), nag-deliver lang nitong fourth quarter. Medyo disappointing performance nga sa kanya, medyo nasisigawan ko na, nasasabihan ko na, 'We need you inside, we need your presence.' Kasi Mo Tautuua is Mo Tautuaa," he added.
Tautuaa finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds in the game, coming alive in the final quarter to help stave off NLEX's rally. His hook shot over Poy Erram with 1:32 to play gave NorthPort a 94-89 lead, and took the wind out of the Road Warriors' sails.
But before his efforts in the fourth quarter, Tautuaa struggled with foul trouble early in the game.
"Kailangan meron kaming tao sa ilalim na magdo-dominate, na magko-control ng boards, magko-control ng opensa namin sa ilalim. Iba 'yung team na meron kang player sa ilalim eh. Kapag nasa labas ka lang, walang mangyayari sa'yo," said Jarencio.
"Si Mo naman, nag-deliver on the last five, seven minutes ng game," he conceded.
Tautuaa was not the only NorthPort big man that Jarencio called out. The veteran mentor also stressed that players like Jom Sollano, Joseph Gabayni, Lervin Flores, and Bradwyn Guinto all need to provide more production.
"Tulong pa ng kaunti," he said, as NorthPort's other bigs combined for just 5 points and 3 rebounds in the game.
Tautuaa, for his part, welcomed the challenge given by his coach.
"I mean, I’m not gonna take it personal. I gotta keep getting better. Me and myself, I wanna be better, so I mean, why not?" said the big man. "I’m just gonna continue to work hard, get in the gym, and do what I can to help our team."
"This isn’t about me, it’s about our team when it’s all said and done. So I wanna make sure we win as a team and do what I can do to make sure that happens," he stressed.
NorthPort will try to make it three wins in a row when they play Columbian Dyip on Friday.
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