JONATHAN Parreno believes that Zamboanga's best days are still ahead of them.
After a largely disappointing debut, the Valientes did much better in the second leg of the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 President's Cup last Sunday.
Though it once again failed to advance to the semifinals, Zamboanga has shown it can be a title threat, a form it would like to keep up in the next legs.
"Nakukuha na namin yung laro," he remarked.
The 36-year-old Parreno has been one of the reasons for that rise, with his outside touch being one of the main weapons for the Valientes in their close losses to Zark's Jawbreakers-Quezon City and eventual second leg champion Pasig Grindhouse Kings in the group stages.
And for him, it's just a matter of being a good leader as one of the senior players.
"Ako ang elder statesman nila. Maliit pa lang siguro yung ibang teammates ko, naglalaro na ako. Kaya para sa akin, lead by example lang. Sinasabi ko sa kanila na be humble, pakundisyon ka kung gusto mong umabot sa taas. Focus na muna kami dito," he said.
Parreno hasn't been shy in taking the leadership mantle for the squad featuring Gino Jumao-as, Das Esa, Rino Berame and Ferdinand Lusdoc.
That's why as tough as the defeats in the first two legs were, Parreno knows that Zamboanga can hold its head high knowing that it is now giving its foes a run for their money.
"Nung first leg, nagulat kami kasi sa mindset namin, madali lang dahil 3x3. Yun pala mas mahirap pa siya sa limahan. Medyo nangangapa pa kami. Pero ngayon, kumpyansa ako na makakabawi kami sa last four legs," he said.
"Sa amin naman, gusto lang namin ipakita na lumalaban kami. Di naman nade-dehado, di masyadong tambakan. At least nakikita namin na yung kalaban, nagwo-worry na rin sa amin. Next time na makalaban nila kami, paghahandaan na din nila kami."