35 years later, Jarencio still feels pain of the ones that got away
With the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon giving people so much time in their hands, athletes—and even coaches—are either planning what to do once they are no longer required to stay at home.
And, in the case of NorthPort coach and former University of Santo Tomas star scorer Pido Jarencio, ponder on the things that got away in the past.
Like, for instance, UAAP crowns.
“I could have won two, 1984 and ’85,” Jarencio told the Inquirer over the phone while trying his hand at cooking to fill in the empty spaces in his schedule caused by the quarantine. “I won everything in my basketball (playing) career. And I can’t help but look back at those years when we were so close.”
There was one very familiar sight at the opposite end of the court for Jarencio and the then-Glowing Goldies in those years: Allan Caidic, Jerry Codiñera and the University of the East Red Warriors—UST’s conquerors then.
“We had solid teams during those years,” Jarencio recalled. “I had Bennett [Palad] as backup in ’84 and then Alfrancis Chua the following year. But, maybe, as the saying goes, they (titles) weren’t for me.”
Jarencio was the best scorer that Santo Tomas produced after the legendary Bogs Adornado—with no one coming close after.
And with him leading UST, talk on the España campus was that the school’s long UAAP title thirst would finally be quenched.
“Somehow, things just didn’t fall into place,” he said, despite winning out in a mano-a-mano scoring duel with Caidic in the 1984 rubber match where he scored 48 of the Goldies’ 99 points in a 13-point loss to the Warriors at jampacked Araneta Coliseum.
“I tend to forget that [scoring] performance,” he said. “What comes to mind every time is that we lost that one.”
Still, he had another shot the next season.
“The following year, I remember that we needed to win just once in the last two games,” Jarencio said. “We still couldn’t pull it out even with Al [Chua] scoring steadily after me. It just wasn’t our year—again.”
Jarencio would go on to blaze a basketball trail that would somehow ease the pain of those defeats—playing in the Philippine squad that won its last ABC championship along with the core of the San Miguel team that would win the PBA Grand Slam in 1989.
He was also a member of the Northern Cement squad made up of amateurs that would win a PBA title; he won championships in the PBA with San Miguel and later on Ginebra, before going back to his roots to coach Santo Tomas after retirement.
He would win a UAAP title in 2006 and many people would think that it made up for those title series losses as a player.
But 35 years later, Jarencio harbors painful feelings.
“[Winning a title as a coach] was special, because [as a coach], you were the one steering the ship, so to speak,” he said. “When I was playing, I got help from a lot of people.
“But it still doesn’t ease the pain of those losses,” he went on before closing. “Because after all the titles [I won], a UAAP title, it turns out, is the one that’s conspicuously missing [in my playing career].”