NorthPort head coach Pido Jarencio shared that there was a point during the Batang Pier’s 2020 PBA Philippine Cup clash with Terrafirma Dyip on Saturday when Kelly Nabong nearly snapped because things weren’t going his way.
The veteran mentor himself admitted that his bruiser is temperamental, but he understands. After all, if there’s someone on the team who knows Nabong all too well, it has to be him, since this is now their second time to work together.
Nabong returned to the Batang Pier last January following by San Miguel for young forward Russel Escoto. So with the familiarity they have, the cager-turned-coach knew how to calm him down.
“Alam mo naman si Kelly, temperamental eh. Medyo pagka masama laro nagwawala. Kung anu-ano sinasabi, ganyan, ganun. Eh ang ginagawa ko hinahalikan ko na lang para mag-tame.
“Eh nagwawala eh, katulad kanina … May issue na naman, nagsisisigaw siya. Eh nung sinigawan ko tumigil eh,” said Jarencio.
Fortunately, though, the yelling helped.
Nabong had his best game of the season so far, scoring 18 points spiked by four three-pointers alongside eight rebounds. And the Batang Pier finally scored its first win in the bubble after four failed tries, 107-96.
“Kaya nga bago matapos ‘yung game, sabi niya sa’kin, ‘Mabait ka na kasi sa’kin.’ Kasi naging mabait ako sa mga players ngayon eh. Sabi ko, ‘Eh nung sinigawan kita?’ ‘O eh ‘yun, kasi gusto ko, para nagigising ako,’ sabi niya,” Jarencio said.
“Ang gusto pala nabubulyawan,” added the former UST chief tactician in between laughs.
“Alam mo naman ‘yun eh. Eh kahit papano, maganda nilaro. Kaya I’m thankful na nakatulong siya.”
Turning serious, Jarencio expressed elation to see Nabong play commendably in the victory, which the Batang Pier managed to pull off with just 11 men in the lineup. Sean Anthony sat out due to injury.
“This is for his career. Sa kanya ‘yan eh, as a player — eh hindi naman para sa akin ‘to. Kung maganda numbers nila, manalo kami, ang magbe-benefit hindi naman ako eh, sila eh. ‘Di ba,” he said. “Kaya gusto ko ‘yung player gumaling eh, gusto ko ‘yung player manalo para kahit papano, ‘yung presyo mo tumaas, ‘yung value mo tumaas.
“Eh kung wala kang value… Naaawa rin ako kasi ayoko namang wala silang trabaho. Alam naman natin ‘yun. Naging player ako kaya alam ko ‘yung puso ng mga player.”