Former pupil Teng has faith in struggling Globalport coach Pido

Jane Bracher
Though Jeric Teng and Pido Jarencio are now on opposing sides in the PBA, they remain united by their UST ties

TIGER STREAK. Globalport coach Pido Jarencio (L) and Rain or Shine player Jeric Teng (R) remain united by their UST ties. Photo by Nuki Sabio/PBA Images

MANILA, Philippines – There was a time when coach Alfredo “Pido” Jarencio and Jeric Teng were fighting to fulfill one dream, side by side. They donned uniforms of the same hue and logo. They also stayed on the same bench.

But things have changed nearly 7 months later.

They’re still fighting for the same dream; just not on the same team. The achievement of their goals will have to come at the expense of the other.

In a different league and playing on another level of hoops, Jarencio and Teng are still chasing a championship.

But much like their days in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP), the struggles have not left either Teng or Jarencio. 

The beloved former University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers head coach is still on the hunt for his first PBA victory in the 2014 Commissioner’s Cup. His new team, GlobalPort Batang Pier, remains the only winless team in 7 games and is sitting at the bottom of the standings.

The piling losses have raised doubts on the capabilities of the fiery coach, who has been well acquainted with criticism since his days in the UAAP. But just like in those days, Jarencio has an equal number of believers on his side. 

One of them is his former player Teng, who now plays for the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters. 

“I have so much faith in coach Pido,” Teng offered, when asked about Jarencio’s struggles so far in the PBA.

He’s proven himself sa lahat, kahit saan man siya magpunta. He’s proven himself to be a fighter and he’ll find ways para manalo yung team niya.” (He’s proven himself with everything he does, wherever he goes. He’s proven himself to be a fighter and he’ll find ways for his team to win.” 

The 23-year old shooting guard wrapped up his UAAP stint in 2013 after a heartbreaking Finals loss to the De La Salle Green Archers. He was drafted 12th overall by Rain or Shine during last year’s PBA Rookie Draft. 

The former King Tiger and the former Tigers coach met for the first time as opponents on Monday, March 31 when Rain or Shine dealt the Batang Pier its 7th straight loss in dominant fashion. Teng said he and Jarencio shared a few laughs and talked prior to the game.

It’s weird dahil lagi ko talaga siya kakampi, lagi kami nasa same bench. Pero this time opposite bench kami,” Teng described what it felt like for him to go up against his mentor. “Pero masaya naman ako na si coach Pido nag-head coach siya sa PBA. And he really deserves it. Masaya na kalaban si coach Pido.”

(It’s weird because he’s always on my side, we’re always on the same bench. But this time we’re on opposite benches. But I’m happy that coach Pido is a head coach in the PBA. And he really deserves it. I’m happy to compete with him.)

Jarencio added: “Nag-mano lang siya sa akin. Alam mo naman may respeto sa akin yung mga players ko sa UST.” (He blessed and acknowledged me. My players from UST respect me.)

These setbacks are not too different from the ones Jarencio had to endure during his last two seasons with the Tigers. They fell short in the Finals twice against the Ateneo Blue Eagles and the Green Archers as Jarencio failed to provide the follow-up title to his maiden season championship in Season 69. 

Jarencio, 49, made the jump to the professional ranks in January after agreeing on a two-year term with GlobalPort – a young team seeking to prove its mettle against established franchises. (READ: End of an era: Pido Jarencio leaves UST, moves to Globalport) 

He left the Tigers after 8 seasons, where he led them to the Season 69 title in 2006, 3 Final Four appearances and back-to-back Finals appearances in 2012 and 2013.

Adapting to the system

Jarencio’s present dilemma revolves around dealing with changes in a short amount of time.

Maraming aayusin. Palubog ng palubog,” Jarencio admitted on Monday. “May positive pero maraming negative sa nangyari, siguro baptism of fire. Darating din yan, tyaga tyaga lang. Papabugbog lang ngayon.” (There’s so much to fix. We keep sinking. There are positives but also plenty of negatives, maybe it’s a baptism of fire. It’s gonna come, we just have to endure. We’re going to get beat up first.)

GlobalPort, a team anchored by rookies, is currently trying to adapt to Jarencio’s new system, which Teng quickly affirmed is difficult to get used to.

Yes sa start,” he admitted. “Medyo mahirap nga dahil medyo maraming ball movement. And iniiwasan niya (Jarencio) yung masyadong one on one. Kailangan lahat ng players nakakahawak ng bola para ma-encourage sila to play defense.” 

(Yes at first. It is quite difficult because there’s plenty of ball movement. He wants to avoid one on one plays. All players need to hold the ball to encourage them to play defense.)

Teng believes all GlobalPort needs is time and to “believe in the system” until the team clicks with it.

Kasi yung system ni coach Pido, it will really take time. Pero once you get it, talagang tuloy tuloy na. I think the team is nasa adjustment stage pa lang sila eh. Once they get the system, once they start believing in the system, good things will happen to the team.” 

(Coach Pido’s system will really take time. But once you get it, it gets easier from there. I think the team is still on the adjustment stage.)

Asked if he recognizes Jarencio’s system from his vantage point at Rain or Shine, Teng was confident with his answer.

“Coach Pido has the same plays. Medyo alam ko nga yung ibang play na ginagawa nila.” (I know some of the plays he does.)

That recognition, in fact, became his own weapon against his former coach during Monday’s match-up, where he played for 8 minutes.

Actually on defense nakatulong dahil alam ko na kung saan darating yung screen, kung saan siya lalabas,” explained the rookie. “Pero yung mga plays ni coach Pido, maski alam ko na, may back-up yan eh. Hindi siya yung basta alam mo na, kaya mo i-stop. Marami siyang options.”

(Actually it helped on defense because I know when the screen will come and where it will happen. But even if you know coach Pido’s plays, he still has a back-up. Just because you know it doesn’t mean you can stop it. He has a lot of options.)

The brighter side

For his part, Jarencio is opting to look at the brighter side of their losses. He says his team is missing small but very crucial things such as playing smart during crunch time and staying consistent. And while GlobalPort still hasn’t realized its identity yet, Jarencio is certain they’re on the right path.

Ang positive lang dito, nakitaan mo na kami na yun ang laro namin,” he said in a separate interview. “Maging consistent lang kami. May mga little things lang. Pero yung overall picture, maganda na yung takbo.” (The positive thing here is we already saw how we want to play. We just need to be consistent. There are little things. But the overall picture, it’s already looking good.) 

Despite the elusive win he has yet to pin down, Jarencio still came out beaming from the GlobalPort locker room on Monday night.

Malungkot. Pero hindi naman laging malungkot. Sasaya din yan. Iikot din ang mundo,” he said. (It’s sad. But it’s not always going to be sad. It will become happy soon. The world will keep spinning.)

Returning the faith

Meanwhile, Teng also had his fair share of struggles with another heartbreak from his third consecutive major championship loss. During his first Philippine Cup conference right out of college and the recent UAAP season loss, Rain or Shine absorbed a tough Finals loss to San Mig Super Coffee

There’s also the ongoing battle to prove himself as a legitimate PBA player. It’s still too early to say how far the former King Tiger can go in professional basketball, but Jarencio is returning the faith Teng gave him. 

Ginagamit naman siya ni coach Yeng eh,” said the animated coach. “Ang destiny ng player ikaw gagawa noon eh. Siyempre binigyan kang chance and opportunity. Ikaw na magpakita kung hanggang saan ka.” (Coach Yeng lets him play. The player makes his own destiny. Of course you’re given a chance and opportunity. It’s up to you to show how far you can go.)

Jarencio and Teng may no longer work together in the same huddle, plan the same plays, or yell the same “Go UST” cheer. Things may have changed, but they still have each other’s back – at least metaphorically.

Oo, akala ko nandito pa siya (Jarencio)!” Teng remarked laughing and pointing behind him as if he was on the sidelines. “Yun pala nasa kabilang bench na.”  

(Yes! I thought he was still behind me. But he’s already on the opponent’s bench.) – Rappler.com

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