|Jervy Cruz, Sol Mercado, and Kevin Ferrer are set to join NorthPort on Saturday night. Dennis Acosta (file photos)|
By Xy-Zha Cabanlong
PASAY CITY - On the night that he fielded only eight of his wards to play and eventually win against a full-rostered Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, Coach Pido Jarencio is in high hopes that the team's new acquisitions from the trade with Ginebra will be of great factor for NorthPort.
One of the players in the active roster, Prince Ibeh was even in foul trouble and two of the three substitutes on the bench are not really at their 100 per cent yet, coming off injuries as well.
But they battled it through, chased a 25-point lead to send the game into overtime, and walked away with the win.
[Related Story: 8-man NorthPort outmuscles Rain or Shine in overtime win]
But with Kevin Ferrer, Jervy Cruz and Sol Mercado about to come into the team, Jarencio feels that NorthPort will be reinforced and fielding 8 men to a game will no longer be the case.
"Excited ako dun sa dadating na tatlo kasi ang tingin ko, positive, tutulong sa atin yan. Tutulong sa amin yan," Jarencio mentioned.
Mercado is no stranger to NorthPort, in fact, his playing career in the Philippines began in the franchise and being traded from Ginebra is some sort of a home coming for him.
"I’ve been with this organization before. This was actually the organization I was with the first time I came to the Philippines in the PBL so I know the management, their coach over here is nice. It kinda like a welcome back kind of thing, they’re very welcoming," Mercado said after watching the game, Wednesday night from the NorthPort bench.
Ferrer and Cruz on the other hand will not have an issue about familiarity as these two were handled by Jarencio during their collegiate basketball stint at University of Santo Tomas.
"Lagi naman kaming nagrereunion ng mga yan e. Tuwing December nagkikita kita kami ng mga yan. Actually, ako naman nag alaga sa mga yan, ako nagpalaki sa mga yan. Humiwalay lang sa akin, wala na sa Tatay nila pero ngayon bumalik na naman. Sana magtulungan kami, ayun lang naman yung importante, magtulungan kami. Tulungan nila yung team, tulungan din nila yung sarili nila. Ako, wag na nila akong tulungan, basta yung team lang ang tulungan nila," Jarencio said when asked about his thoughts on a reunion with Ferrer and Cruz.
Jarencio also stressed out that with the trio coming in for North Port, it fills the gap that Pringle will be leaving in the team, as well as by those who cannot contribute to the team at the moment due to injuries—Jonathan Grey, Lervyn Flores, Bradwyn Guinto and Nico Elorde to be exact.
"Nagkaroon ng freak accident si Jonathan Grey. He's out for like 10-12 months. Sayang na nawala sa amin, na maganda na yung nilalaro nung bata, kaya yung pasok ni Kevin [Ferrer], eksakto sa position ni Jonathan. Position by postion na lang yung isipin natin. Stanley [Pringle] and Nico [Elorde] out, for four weeks si Nico, si Sol [Mercado] ang pumalit, okay na rin ako dun, di ba? Tapos si Lervyn Flores saka mejo rookie pa yung si Brad Guinto, nawala, Jervy [Cruz] coming in, pasok na rin sa akin. Tapos si Kevin, yun. Kahit papano, yung mga kulang natin, mapupunuan yun," Jarencio explains.
Mercado, Ferrer and Cruz are expected to report for practice by Thursday, in time for them to prepare and suit up for their clash against Blackwater Elite on Saturday at the Cuneta Astrodome.
"This Saturday, practice na sila bukas then turo-turo lang ng mga ano, syempre pagod yung mga ibang naglaro, turo lang ng mga gingawa namin. E madali lang naman yang mga yan, matatalino yang mga yan, galing naman kay Coach Tim e. Syempre pagka-galing kay Coach Tim, mejo disiplinado mga players e. Kaya hindi ako mamomroblema dyan, saka yung experience, championship experience meron sila – yun ang importante sa player," Jarencio said in parting.
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