NORTHPORT coach Pido Jarencio accepted the blame after the Batang Pier lost to Magnolia on Calvin Abueva's game-winner at the buzzer.
With 2.6 seconds to work with, Abueva hit a twisting jumper in tight traffic in the final possession after receiving the inbound pass from Rome Dela Rosa in what Magnolia coach Chito Victolero later described as a 'perfectly executed play.'
Netizens were quick to cite Jarencio's decision to replace Greg Slaughter with a smaller Sidney Onwubere as the inbound defender, expressing the view that Slaughter could have prevented Dela Rosa from making a pinpoint pass to Abueva.
Slaughter was clearly not happy as he walked out of the floor.
Jarencio explained the move but at the same time admitted that it 'backfired on us.'
“It was a coaching staff decision to replace Greg for Sidney, because we thought it as a better match-up on the inbound. However, it backfired at us,” said Jarencio. “It was our fault at the last play changing Greg."
Jarencio also admitted NorthPort's defensive lapses in the final play.
"There were also game lapses in the last 2.6 seconds as well where some of the defensive rules were not followed. It was a heartbreaking loss for us,” said the Batang Pier coach.
Breaks of the game
But at the end of the day, the NorthPort coach said the thrilling game went down to 'breaks' and the Batang Pier got the wrong end of it.
The defeat - the second straight for NorthPort after a three-game win streak - was a bitter pool to swallow as the Batang Pier led by as many as 17 points in the first half and wrested the lead late on Kevin Ferrer's clutch layup.
The Batang Pier are now precariously holding on to the seventh position in a tie with Barangay Ginebra at 4-5 win-loss. Eight teams will make the playoffs.
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