Pido the psychologist
SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin M. Henson (The Philippine Star) - March 14, 2018 - 12:00am

The other day, GlobalPort coach Pido Jarencio laughed off a suggestion for power forward Kelly Nabong to undergo psychological treatment for anger management. Nabong, a volatile player with a notoriously short fuse, was struck out of Meralco’s roster for unsportsmanlike behavior during the semifinals of the PBA Governors Cup last season. Then, Jarencio gave him a new lease on his basketball career by signing him up for a return stint with the Batang Pier.

Nabong, 29, paid back Jarencio for his trust by averaging 12.8 points, 10.9 rebounds and 32.1 minutes in 12 games this conference. “Kelly showed what he can do,” said Jarencio. “He’s learning to control himself. There’s a way to calm him down when he gets uptight. I wait for him to cool down then talk to him. I’m very positive with Kelly.” Jarencio said Nabong doesn’t need to consult a psychologist. “I’m his psychologist,” he joked.

Jarencio, 53, is optimistic that things are looking up for GlobalPort. “We’re a young team with a lot of new players,” he said. “I’m happy we finished No. 7 in the eliminations. We were close to beating Magnolia in the playoffs but we ran out of gas. Sean (Anthony) got hurt and we missed him. We had momentum. We just couldn’t sustain it.” The Hotshots had a twice-to-beat advantage against GlobalPort and looked like an upset was in the making after the Batang Pier raced to a 26-6 start. But with Anthony gone after playing in only 2:18 minutes, Jarencio’s rotation was severely crippled. Magnolia recovered to win, 86-79, last March 6.

From last season’s Governors Cup roster, GlobalPort moved out 12 players in a massive facelift. Rico Maierhofer, Billy Mamaril, Mike Cortez, Aaron Aban, Dylan Ababou, Mick Pennisi, James Forrester, Mac Baracael, Robbie Celiz, Paolo Hubalde, Papot Paredes and Mac Cardona were gone. In came four rookies, Julian Sargent, Michael Juico, Joseph Gabayni and Lervyn Flores and four veterans, Nabong, Jeric Teng, Nico Elorde and Yousef Taha. It was a challenge to generate immediate chemistry with so many new players but Jarencio did a masterful job of getting everyone to buy into his system.

 For Jarencio, the key is focus to work hard as a team. In the Philippine Cup, GlobalPort brought down Rain Or Shine, 78-70, and TNT, 99-84, and was competitive in losing decisions to Barangay Ginebra, 104-97 and Phoenix, 104-100. “Nagkaka-amuyan na, nagaalaman na,” he said. “It took a while for the players to get used to each other but we’re getting there. Mabigat yung nawala sa amin when Sean went down in the playoffs. Guys stepped up, like Jeric who put up decent numbers. Stanley (Pringle) was solid for us. He’s working on his stamina so he can be consistent in playing up to 45 minutes a game.”

As for Terrence Romeo, Jarencio said whether he’ll stay with GlobalPort or not is up to management. He said there’s no problem between them. Romeo would be a welcome addition to any team. Reactivated from the injury list for GlobalPort’s final two games of the conference, Romeo averaged 17 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 30 minutes.

Last Monday, GlobalPort held its first practice at the Green Meadows Gym in Quezon City after losing to Magnolia. At first, Jarencio said Romeo would be called to practice but wasn’t sure if the crack guard will attend.  Later, the practice was made optional for veterans and Jarencio himself didn’t show up. GlobalPort assistant coaches Rensy Bajar and Joe Ward conducted the practice which was meant for rookies and new acquisitions. A source said Romeo wasn’t aware of the practice and only found out about it in media.

“We decided to just do drills last Monday and we’ll probably call in everyone for the first serious practice after Holy Week since it’s coming soon,” said Jarencio. “We’ll do another practice on Wednesday (today) but again, it will be more on drills. Right now, we’re deciding on our import for the next conference.”

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