NORTHPORT Batang Pier maybe new to 3×3 basketball, but coach Jaren Jarencio hopes to bring the same never-say-die attitude and work ethic to the team in the inaugural PBA 3×3 basketball tournament starting Saturday.
Jarencio, son of PBA legend and NorthPort head coach Pido Jarencio, is ready for the challenge.
“We’re still new to 3×3 basketball and everyday is a learning experience for us. It’s a different and new brand of basketball that needs a different approach,” said Jarencio during the 128th edition of the “Usapang Sports on Air” via Zoom lsst Thursday. \
“But everyday we’re learning new things, building blocks and developing the chemistry that we need to make the team competitive. I can say we’re getting there,” added Jarencio in the weekly public service program sponsored by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) and Games and Amusements Board (GAB).
A total of 13 teams divided into three groups are seeing action in inaugural staging of the PBA 3×3.
NorthPort is drawn in Pool C along with San Miguel Beer, Cavitex Braves and Pioneer Pro Tibay.
Talk N Text, Purefoods, Limitless Appmasters, Zamboanga Valientes and Platinum Karaoke are drawn in Pool A, while Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, Terrafirma, Meralco and Sista Super Sealers are listed in Pool B.
Asked about the team’s chances, the 35-year-old Jarencio exuded guided optimism.
Jarencio said the team composed of LA Revilla, Mike Calisaan, Jeepy Faundo at Mark Olayon will work hard and compete hard.
“Sa tingin ko, may edge kami sa speed, ball movement, outside shooting. Mas physical ang team namin dahil may dalawa kaming big guys,” Jarencio, who also serves as one of the assistant coaches of the Batang Pier, told editors and reporters.
Jarencio, who credited Derek Pumaren, Oliver Bunyi, Eric Gonzales, Tonichi Yturri, Jack Santiago and father Pido Jarencio for helping him in his coaching career, admitted the task is difficult.
“To be honest, mas may advantage pa din yung mga 3×3 teams na matagal na kasi they are used to playing it. Sanay na sila sa ganung laro, sanay na sila sa ganung sistema, sanay na sila sa mga rules,” added Jarencio, who claimed he had watched tapes of 3×3 games as part of his own preparations.
“Gusto ko naman ang bracket namin kasi sila same sa Pool A, mas experienced sila, mas sanay sila sa 3×3,” explained Jarencio, while pointing to Platinum, Zamboanga and Pioneer as the teams to beat.
“Sila talaga ang top favorites dahil yun mga players nila matagal na talaga naglalaro ng 3×3. Kami ngayon pa lang nagsisimula. Kulang yung two weeks training. Walang tune-up. Hopefully, sa third leg, nandun na kami sa gusto namin.”
Jarencio said he is also looking forward to the coming import-flavored PBA Governors’ Cup.
He said the arrival of import Cameron Forte and entry of veteran Arwind Santos following a blockbuster trade with San Miguel Beer is expected to make NorthPort a much-better team.
“Right now, we’re focused on our conditioning and helping our import and new players adjust to our system. Si Arwind, bago sa team pero veteran. He will be a good leader to our team.”
“Our import (Cameron Forte) is a scorer. He’s plays the four spot. Tapos experienced siya. Naturalized na siya ng Jordan, if i’m not mistaken. Hopefully, madala niya kami sa semis.”
Jarencio also welcomed the plan to allow fans to watch the games.
“After two bubble tournaments, we are looking na mag-normalize na talaga at magkaroon na tayo uli ng live audience. Nakaka miss talaga yung may fans. Iba yun naglalaro ang mga teams na may crowd.”
“Sa bubble, mahirap kasi talaga. Mentally mahirap. Kumbaga kailangang mentally tough ka talaga para ma-survive ang bubble,” srressed Jarencio.