MANILA - NorthPort coach Pido Jarencio and Greg Slaughter said they have cleared the air after their controversial defeat to Magnolia on Friday that left the Batang Pier's star center frustrated.
Jarencio had opted to sub Slaughter out of the game in their final possession against the Hotshots, while they were clinging to an 89-88 lead. The decision backfired, as Magnolia got the ball to Calvin Abueva who had a clean look inside for the game-winning bucket.
Slaughter, who had 21 points in that game, was the picture of frustration afterward. Before their game on Sunday against Rain or Shine, he broke his silence on Instagram where he expressed his desire to move on.
"Being in a semi bubble set up has made me closer to my teammates. We will pull together and do our best to play as hard as we can and we hope you can continue to support us in our remaining games," said Slaughter.
They did just that on Sunday when they slipped past the Elasto Painters in overtime, 91-88, to snap a two-game losing streak and boost their chances of securing a quarterfinal spot in the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup.
Slaughter played a huge role in the win, scoring 25 points and tallying six blocks, including the rejection of Gabe Norwood's three-pointer in overtime that clinched their victory.
Afterward, Slaughter professed his belief in their team and their coach, while seated next to Jarencio.
"We're just a team that wants to win. A lot of frustration last time, anytime you lose a game," he said.
"But that just makes us hungry for the next one, you know. We trust in each other, we trust in Coach Pido, and we just pulled it together and knew we had to move on to the next one," he added.
Jarencio, for his part, revealed that he apologized to his team for what happened against the Hotshots.
"I'm so apologetic to Greg and to the rest of the team. We patched up things, we're here to work. We are professionals," he said. "I'm so happy tonight because this is the first time me and Greg win na magkasama kami."
"Hindi ko pa natikman na magkasama kami ni Greg na we win eh, this is the first time," he added.
Jarencio, who also fired back at those who criticized him following the loss to Magnolia, is optimistic that their win over Rain or Shine will give them the momentum they need heading into their final elimination round assignment, and hopefully into the playoffs.
The Batang Pier will play Alaska in their final game of the eliminations.
"We're so happy tonight, we're gonna celebrate kasi we're off tomorrow," said Jarencio. "We just go there, at least the respect is there, the trust is there. We build it again, and then we're gonna be ready on the playoffs."
"Playoffs is a different story, and this team is gonna be different in the playoffs. I'm assuring that," he added.
Slaughter, for his part, stressed that his eyes remain on the prize even after the challenges of the past couple of days.
"(I have the) same goal as it was anytime that I played anywhere else, that's to win a championship," he said.