NorthPort finished the elimination round of the 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup with a second-best record of 9-2, just a game behind front-running TNT which breezed through the initial phase of the mid-season conference with a 10-1 card, its only defeat coming at the hands of the Batang Pier themselves.
The Mikee Romero-owned franchise ended the round with back-to-back wins to ensure the team’s first ever twice-to-beat incentive in the quarterfinals.
While this development is certainly something positive to bring forward, head coach Pido Jarencio is convinced that the Batang Pier are actually the underdogs after drawing no less than reigning Philippine Cup champs San Miguel as the team’s first opponent in the playoffs.
“Siyempre dehado kami doon. Defending champion ng Philippine Cup makakalaban. Sa dinami-dami ng teams, 12 kami. Isipin mo, sa sampung team, isipin mo yun pa bumagsak sa amin,” said Jarencio during an interview with SPIN.ph.
While the Batang Pier demolished the Beermen by 33 points, 121-88 during their game last June 5, Jarencio insists that they will be facing a totally different team this time around.
“Tinalo nga, kulang-kulang naman sila. Iba na yung sitwasyon ngayon. Buo na sila, tapos nagpalit sila ng import. Napakagaling. Basta kami, gawa lang kami ng plano, tignan natin kung ano ang mangyayari.”
Game 1 of the NorthPort vs San Miguel quarterfinal series is on Sunday, July 21, 6:45pm at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.