“This time, meron na kaming panapat kay June Mar”. These are the words by NorthPort Batang Pier coach Pido Jarencio about his team’s quarterfinal pairing with mighty the San Miguel Beermen in the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup.
The 57-year old mentor expressed his confidence that his team can match up with the Beermen physically, especially against six-time league MVP June Mar Fajardo, the luxury of having 7-foot slotman Greg Slaughter in the middle.
“Hindi katulad dati na undersized ‘yung nakakabantay kay June Mar, talagang hirap kami,” he said. “Ngayon at least meron kaming Greg na who can match up with June Mar.” added by the former player turned coach.
NorthPort and SMB will face each other in the playoffs for the second time in three seasons. The first match up happened in the 2019 Commissioner’s Cup quarters where the Batang Pier failed to capitalize on their twice to beat advantage and fell short against eventual champion SMB.
“First of all, ‘yung materyales namin medyo may kulang pa noon that time. Hindi katulad ngayon, in all positions, meron tayong pang-sabay kaya I think the difference is more talent. Yung team ngayon, mas more talent, mas more talented. ‘Yung team na dati, medyo may kulang, pero at least nandoon. Pero this year, iba ‘yung team eh, iba ‘yung composition. Mas, I think, this is more competitive than the last time that San Miguel beat us, ‘yung tinalo kami noong twice-to-beat,” explained the former PBA player.
That’s where Greg Slaughter enters the conversation. The product of the Ateneo de Manila University only played in six games but posted averages of 16.5 points, 10.7 rebounds, 2.3 blocks, and 1.0 assist. And Jarencio believes having Slaughter in the middle can help them contain Fajardo.
“June Mar is June Mar pa rin. Pero at least we have Greg, who improved a lot, and then meron din siyang gustong patunayan. Kaya that’s a good match-up eh, Greg and June Mar, dito sa playoffs,” added by the Batang Pier coach.