Jamike back in PBA
SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin M. Henson (The Philippine Star) - October 8, 2020 - 12:00am

Two weeks ago, Jamike Jarin got a surprise invitation to join Phoenix in the PBA from interim head coach Topex Robinson. He never applied for the job so the offer came as a bit of a shock. Jarin, 50, was grateful for the opportunity and accepted without hesitation. Now in the Clark bubble, Jarin is excited to be back in the PBA where he was formerly an assistant coach with TNT and Meralco.

“Acquaintance lang kami ni coach Topex,” said Jarin, appointed the Super LPG’s first assistant coach. “We went against each other in the NCAA. I think he knows how I do things, what I’ve learned from coaches like Norman (Black), Chot (Reyes), Joe (Lipa) and Joel (Banal). I’ve been guided by the best, experiencing success and failures along the way. I was the youngest in the coaching staff of my previous PBA teams but with Phoenix, I’m the oldest.” Jarin’s creds are solid. He was the first coach to bring the Philippines to the FIBA U17 World Cup in 2014 and won eight UAAP titles in 13 seasons with the Ateneo juniors. In 15 years as Ateneo seniors assistant coach, the Eagles bagged six crowns. In four years as TNT assistant coach, Jarin was on four championship teams. He led San Beda to the NCAA throne.

Jarin said he’s itching for the games to begin. “The teams that are able to adapt fastest to the situation and are healthy will come on strong,” he said. “In our first scrimmage in the bubble, we saw iba ang competitive basketball. You might be in condition but timing is different when you play 5x5, the passing, working together. Coach Topex is a calm guy, he lets the players make decisions on the court. He played nine years in the PBA. If you look back at his career, you’ll remember his great attitude, use him or not, he always gave his best. As a head coach, he’s always in control. He lets his assistants do their thing. I’ll focus on defense with coach Willy (Wilson). Jon (Jacinto) and Kris (Reyes) are our other assistant coaches. Good thing is we’ve got a young team. Luckily, I’m familiar with a lot of the guys like JC Intal, Justin Chua, Dave Marcelo, Mike Gamboa and Jake Pascual. I coached (team manager) Boss Paolo (Bugia) in high school and was a batchmate of our PBA governor (Atty. Raymond Zorilla) in two years taking up Economics at San Beda. It’s like a reunion.”

Staying in the bubble is something new. “We adjusted our life for seven months, basically staying home with family and now, it’s another adjustment,” said Jarin. “What the PBA did to restart the season is amazing. It’s a magnificent job to create the bubble and get the games back on TV for the fans to stay home, keep safe and be glued to their sets for four hours. It’s a great service to Filipinos in this pandemic. As a team, we’re working to be competitive. Dave is coming off an injury, we’re still hoping Calvin (Abueva) is reactivated and we’ve got new guys in Brian Heruela, Jay-R Reyes and Jansen Rios. Everyone’s excited to play.”

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