Sad fate of Forte

SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin M. Henson - The Philippine Star

NorthPort coach Pido Jarencio never expected import Cameron Forte to play as poorly as he did in two games in the PBA Governors Cup, now on hold until details are ironed out with IATF, GAB, DOH and the involved LGU regarding a restart. The Batang Pier are winless in four outings but Jarencio said the battle is far from over. A new import is arriving soon and theres hope for a comeback.

Jarencio said Forte was touted to be the “secret weaponof the Jordan national squad and as a naturalized import, was impressive in leading the team to victory twice over Gilas at the King Abdullah Cup in Amman last year. But in his PBA debut, Forte was a bust and rode the bench in the last 6:24 minutes when NorthPort nearly overtook Alaska, eventually losing by two. In his second game, Forte grabbed 23 rebounds and NorthPort bowed to NLEX by five in OT. The day after, Forte begged off from practice because his knee hurt. Jarencio said he watched the tape of the game to find out if Fortes knee was hammered or banged up. No bump was evident. So Forte was brought to a doctor and four vials of yellowish fluid was drained from the knee. Jarencio said if the injury was fresh, there wouldve been some blood in the fluid but there was none. He suspected Forte was injured from the start.

Actually, nag-madali siya to arrive dito,” said Jarencio. “Pagdating sa laro, parang walang hustle, iba sa video na pinanood namin bago siya dumating. So baka ‘di siya 100 percent.” Before Christmas, Forte was sent back home. NorthPort played its last two games without an import, bowing to San Miguel Beer by three and Barangay Ginebra by 26.

Sayang kasi big man ang laro ni Forte,” said Jarencio. “Kung ma-foul trouble si Greg (Slaughter), meron pa kaming big na pwedeng puntahan. Balanced na kami sa local. Pag-dating ng bagong import, fresh start kami.” A player whom Jarencio is encouraging to develop an identity is Jamie Malonzo. “Natural ang offense niya pero I want him to develop as a defensive player at rebounder,” said Jarencio. “Ang laki ng potential. Huwag siyang jack of all trades at master of none. Kung si Caidic, ang identity is shooter, si Jaworski, defender, si Fernandez, all-around, offense at defense. Si Malonzo, sana magkaroon ng identity rin.”

Two names have been mentioned as leading candidates to take over from Forte. But NorthPort management isnt inclined to reveal who they are. As soon as the visa is issued and the import is on the way here, then Jarencio can heave a sigh of relief that a reversal of fortunes will just be around the corner.


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