MANILA, Philippines -- NorthPort head coach Pido Jarencio expressed his full support for the Batang Pier point guards, as the team continues to miss the services of top playmaker Robert Bolick in the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup.
Bolick, the third overall pick in the 2018 PBA Rookie Draft, was left off NorthPort's roster for the league's bubble in Clark as he is still recovering from a knee injury suffered in October during the Governors' Cup.
"For us, let's not talk about Robert," Jarencio said on Tuesday, after the Batang Pier dropped their first game of the conference against Blackwater, 96-89. "Robert is out, so kung sino ang nandito, 'yun na."
Jarencio would not deny that the team needs Bolick. As a rookie, the guard out of San Beda University averaged 10.64 points, 5.55 rebounds, and 4.09 assists in the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup. He was battling with TerraFirma's CJ Perez in the Rookie of the Year race before suffering an injury.
Bolick still made it to the PBA All-Rookie team together with Perez, TNT's Ray Parks, Rain or Shine's Javee Mocon, and Alaska's Abu Tratter.
"Every time they ask me about Robert, for me, we need Robert," Jarencio acknowledged. "But ito na kami. Ito na 'yung team namin."
Rather than dwelling on Bolick's absence, Jarencio said they will instead empower the guards on their roster -- rookie Renzo Subido and veterans Nico Elorde and LA Revilla.
Against Blackwater on Monday night, the three guards combined for 10 points, seven rebounds, and two assists.
"Malaki ang tiwala ko kay Renzo, kay Nico at kay LA," Jarencio stressed. "Now, it's up to them to step up and then make contributions para sa team."
The Batang Pier's start to the conference was less than ideal, as they squandered a double-digit lead and gave up a 41-point third quarter to the Elite.
Wasted in the loss was a 23-point, 10-rebound, six-assist effort from Christian Standhardinger, as well as Sean Anthony's 22 points, 13 rebounds, and six assists.
Jarencio believes, however, that their poor finish is a result of a lack of preparation. The teams only practiced at the Angeles University Foundation Gym in Pampanga for less than two weeks before the PBA season officially restarted last Sunday.
"Siguro first game, walang tune-up tapos may mga bagong players, wala pa 'yung chemistry, timing medyo wala pa. Kaya kaunting adjustment pa," the coach said.
NorthPort will try to bounce back on Thursday afternoon against Phoenix Super LPG.