IT never got any better than this, a dream match-up between two of the finest scorers in Philippine basketball figuring in a shootout for the ages,
Thirty-six years later, stories of that famed mano-a-mano between Allan Caidic and Pido Jarencio in the 1984 UAAP Finals between University of Santo Tomas and University of the East never get old.
"Nakakatuwa nga kasi si Pido is one of my closest friends ever since. Halos magkasabay kami niyan, magkumpare kami," reminisced Caidic in his recent Hoop Coaches International session hosted by Blackwater and Flying V.
Caidic and Jarencio were two of the best collegiate players to come out of their era, and naturally were pitted against each other. But only a few knew that about the friendship between the two.
The two, in fact, were staying in one place - in the quarters provided by Northern Consolidated Cement as they were part of the national team then - a day before the winner-take-all Game Three in the UAAP Season 47 Finals.
"Noong time na yun, nasa quarters kami nag-stay ni Pido sa NCC," said Caidic. "Kinakantyawan kami before the game. Pero pagdating ng game, laban talaga. After the game magkikita kami, ganoon talaga."
Even NCC coach Ron Jacobs watched the game live together with former UE mentor Pilo Pumaren as the two young studs engaged in a virtual shooting contest.
The young gunners lived up to the occasion. "The Triggerman" fired 46 points while "The Fireman" responded with 48 to his name. Although Jarencio won the head-to-head battle, the Red Warriors pulled off the title-clinching 112-99 win.
"Medyo sinwerte kami at nanalo kami sa UST," said Caidic, recalling how he guided the Red Warriors to their 17th UAAP seniors basketball title - and the last championship won by the Recto-based school until now.
Caidic said he felt for his friend, admitting his Red Warriors had a lot more pieces compared to Jarencio's Glowing Goldies.
"During my time, marami na ring tumulong sa akin at kasamang nag-deliver. Si Pido talagang one-man labor yun. Mabigat din talaga ang scoring ni Pido at mahirap ma-stop," said Caidic, who had Jerry Codinera, George Ella, and Boycie Zamar as teammates in the side coached by Jimmy Mariano.
To this day, Jarencio regrets not winning the championship. In fact the former UST star said he should've won two, counting the following year.
"Dapat nakadalawa ako," said Jarencio, although he won one later as coach of the 2006 Tigers side. "Pero ganoon talaga, minsan hindi nagka-sabay-sabay."
Asked about that historic shootout, Jarencio said he had very little recollection about his scoring or Caidic's for that matter. What he remembered most, he rued, was the loss.
"Natatandaan ko 'yung resulta," Jarencio said.