MANILA - NorthPort head coach Pido Jarencio on Sunday fired back at his critics after the Batang Pier got back on track in the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup.
The Batang Pier had beaten Rain or Shine, 91-88, in overtime to regain their winning ways and fan their playoff hopes. Their victory also gave Jarencio an opportunity to address his "haters and bashers," of whom there were plenty after their previous game.
"This is for our staff, sa mga naniniwala rin sa amin, 'yung mga NorthPort fans. 'Yung tunay na NorthPort fans, tunay na PBA basketball fans," said Jarencio.
"Sa mga basher ko, mga hater ko, kung ano pinagsasabi niyo sa amin… I played for 17 years, I coached for 12 years. Never akong na-involve sa kung ano mang anomalya," he stressed.
Jarencio had come under fire for his decision to sub out big man Greg Slaughter in the final possession of their game against the Magnolia Hotshots on Friday, while NorthPort clung to a slim 89-88 lead.
The decision backfired, as the Hotshots easily got the ball to Calvin Abueva who drilled the game-winner at the buzzer for a 90-89 Magnolia win. It was NorthPort's second straight loss after three consecutive victories.
Compounding the criticism for Jarencio was Slaughter's clear frustration at his coach's decision. But Jarencio said that he and the center have cleared the air.
"I'm so apologetic to Greg and to the rest of the team," said Jarencio. "We patched up things, we're here to work. We are professionals."
To his critics, Jarencio said: "Kayong mga haters at bashers ko, bahala na ang Diyos sa inyo. I love you all, okay."
Jarencio made sure not to repeat his mistake against the Elasto Painters. Slaughter was in the game in the closing seconds of overtime, bothering Gabe Norwood's inbound pass. He also chased Norwood to the corner and blocked the veteran's triple attempt at the buzzer, preserving the Batang Pier's victory.
NorthPort improved to 5-5 with the result.
"I'm so happy tonight because this is the first time me and Greg win na magkasama kami. Because hindi ko pa natikman na magkasama kami ni Greg na we win eh, this is the first time," said Jarencio.
Slaughter, for his part, was succinct when asked for his thoughts on their game against Magnolia.
"I was very upset that we lost, just like any other loss, and very happy when we won, just like any other win," the center said.