FOR Pido Jarencio, Northport’s PBA Philippine Cup game against Rain or Shine all boiled down to the final five minutes.
Unfortunately, it was the Batang Pier who were first to blink.
NorthPort cracked when it mattered most, yielding a 107-100 loss against the Elasto Painters in a game the team dominated three-fourths of the way at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“We gave up in the last five minutes. Yun lang yun,” said Jarencio as he pointed out where everything went wrong for the Batang Pier.
“We can’t play like 43 minutes. We have to play 48 minutes of good basketball.”
Northport led 93-84, with 8:08 left when Rain or Shine coach Caloy Garcia went to his bench and found a spark in Mark Borboran.
The former University of the East stalwart scored all of his six points in the fourth quarter to help rally Rain or Shine back and tied the game at 97.
The Batang Pier were still in the thick of the fight until James Yap hit the go-ahead three-pointer, 102-100, on a step-back off Paolo Taha.
End of the game, according to Jarencio.
“We were there e, suddenly our bigs were not pressuring their bigs. Defensively, nag-relax kami.” Jarencio lamented.
“On offense ok naman andun pa rin tayo. But in basketball it’s about defense. If you play defense, you will win for sure.”
The loss evened the Batang Pier’s record at 2-2, still a good enough slate in the eyes of Jarencio.
“We’re in the middle of pack, OK pa rin tayo. Basta just think positive, let’s work together, magtulungan lang, Ayusin yung team,” he said.
The Batang Pier will have a two-week break and return to action until Feb. 27 against league-leader Phoenix.
“This is a good learning experience for us. We’re here and just work on our mistakes,” said the NorthPort coach.