Jarencio all-in for twin aces; Compton looking for ways to cut ‘hydra’ head
Pido Jarencio, the GlobalPort coach who, like his Batang Pier, will be in a Final Four series in the PBA for the very first time next month, is not making it a secret that he will use the same weapons that got them there in the first place.
“Stanley (Pringle) and Terrence (Romeo) will be our aces against the (Alaska) Aces,” Jarencio told the Inquirer in Filipino over the phone as they start their best-of-seven series against Alaska on Jan. 4 for a place in the Smart Bro-Philippine Cup title series.
“It’s not a secret anymore.”
Opposing coach Alex Compton of the Aces has described the Pringle-Romeo tandem as a “hydra,” which he is most worried about.
“They are the biggest reasons why we are here, and we will again ask them to take us to the championship (playoffs),” the charismatic coach went on. “The only difference is in the way I will play them (in the series), I have to be able to manage their minutes.”
Pringle and Romeo have been the top guns of the Batang Pier all tournament long, with Jarencio extending the duo in the elimination round to take No. 5 ranking before defeating Barangay Ginebra in a thrilling knockout game last Sunday, 84-83, in overtime.
“We are all new in playing in a series this long,” he said. “That’s why it is important for the coaching staff to be able to keep them fresh the entire time.”
Jarencio, who steered Santo Tomas to its last UAAP title in 2006, also said that he will have to dig deep in his rotation to be able to keep his dynamic duo fresh, unlike in the eliminations and the quarterfinals where he stuck to a very short rotation.
“We also have to match their energy level,” Jarencio said of the Aces, who will enter the series as the decided favorites. “Alaska plays with a lot of energy the whole game and if we come out with less, we will be in trouble.”
GlobalPort’s bench is not the deepest in the league, but Jarencio has faith that his reserves can pull off the job—even if they will be in unchartered waters for the very first time.
“This is a chance that the players want, they want to show everyone that they deserve to be in this stage of the tournament,” Jarencio said. “Some of them have had championship-playoff experience with other teams. They can use that.”
While Jarencio is trying to keep Pringle and Romeo as sharp as they could be starting with Game 1 at 7 p.m. at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay, Compton had said that he and his staff are trying to find ways to shut the duo down.
“A hydra has many heads, we cut one (of the heads) off and I think we have a chance,” Compton went on.
The first time they clashed was a no-contest in favor of the Aces, who scored a 123-104 ripping of the Batang Pier on Nov. 20.
Compton went to the press room after that win with a smile, before saying in jest that: “I think we did a good job on Romeo, we held him down to 5,000 points or something.”
Despite a relentless defensive pressure all game on the spike-haired former Far Eastern University ace, Romeo still got away with 33 points and was the reason why the Batang Pier were in the game until the final quarter.
“They (Pringle and Romeo) still got away with superstar shots,” Compton had said that night. “We need a total team effort on defense to stop them.”
In the meantime, the pressure is on for both the Romeo-Pringle pair and the Alaska team defense to shut it down.
One has to give, and from whichever way one looks at it, that will most likely make the difference in this series.
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