September 24, 2013
Eye of the Tiger
On this one lazy day at the Shakey’s near the Malate Church fronting the breathtaking Manila Bay, UAAP Final Four protagonists University of Santo Tomas and National U were lined up as guests in the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum just before noon. The Tigers were represented by their coach Pido Jarencio while the Bulldogs their mentor Eric Altamirano and their top dog, former two-time MVP Bobby Ray Parks, Jr.
It turned out the calm noon will be laced with booming fireworks by no less than Jarencio himself.
In a story written by Rueben Terrado of spin.ph, the words that came out in Jarencio’s mouth spewed nothing but scud missiles laced with tear gas on the side. Jarencio, one of the funniest, most entertaining and quotable coaches in Phl basketball next probably to the living legend Robert, “Sonny” Jaworski, Sr., had so many things to say about Parks accusing Kevin Ferrer of playing too physical in their Final Four duel that led to a Tigers win, 71-62, Sunday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
“Dapat alam mo kung ano laro dito sa Pilipinas (You should know by now the Phl’s type of game by now),” Jarencio told sportswriters not realizing that Parks and Altamirano have heard it all.
It was Jarencio’s reaction to Parks commenting days before that the Tigers were a little too rough and physical against him and the rest of the Bulldogs. Here’s what Parks said also on spin.ph: “Playing RP team with him, I never really thought that he will come out like this. Coming into the game, he grabbed my finger and my wrist … Just a little too low. Coming back into the game, Kevin Ferrer grabbed my wrist and finger. I don’t know what to say.
And more: “I guess they were thirsty for the win. I guess we have to come out and play, not having an intention to hurt somebody. But hey, we have a lot of complaints in there. Jean (Mbe) had his balls grabbed. It’s just the craziest thing. We just have to come back and play aggressive. Play clean and aggressive.”
Parks, who would have made history as the first player to have ever won three straight MVP plums if FEU’s Terrence Bill Romeo hadn’t snatched it, also went to point of comparing himself to no less than His Airness himself, Michael Jordan, the Greatest Of All Time while analogizing the Tigers as the Bad Boys of Detroit Pistons in the NBA’s late 80s and early 90s.
“Hey, my dad’s been through a lot of players like that. Michael Jordan had Detroit. This is my Detroit right here. That’s just the easiest way to say it,” Parks said.
And then Parks got a dose of vitriol from Jarencio after it. “Kasi ako nung araw, softdrinks lang, nakikipagpatayan na ako … ‘Yun ang laro ng mga Pilipino kaya nga tayo kinakatakutan sa Asia. May shooting, speed, at ‘yung puso natin buo. Matapang ang mga players kaya tayo nag-number one sa Asia hanggang sa dumating na ‘yung impluwensiya ng mga Amerikano, nag-iba ang laro, ilag-ilag nalang tayo, medyo nawala. Kita niyo naman ‘yung Gilas. Ang sipag, patayan, ganun ang laro ng mga Pilipino. ‘Yun lang. Opinyon ko ‘yun. Pilay kung pilay.
Parks answer to that? “See you on Saturday.”
Sportsmaryosep’s Prognosis: Look, this is a democratic country. Parks and Jarencio can say anything as long as it is within the bounds of the law. They have the right to be emotional too considering what is at stake in their Final Four series. The Bulldogs are eyeing their first finals appearance since more than half a century ago. Their last UAAP championship came when you and I are not born yet–1954. You could see how hungry NU is for a championship. As for UST, it is coming off a failed attempt last year when it lost to dethroned five-peat champ Ateneo. It’s last crown came seven years ago. So you know the two teams are giving all it can to achieve their goals. Sadly, only one of them will make it to the finals versus the winner of the La Salle-FEU showdown on the other side of the Final Four fence. And it all boils down to that one game on Saturday. For all the marbles. No tomorrow. So forgive their French if they say something explosive. As for playing physical, you probably saw how Jeff Javillonar BULLDOZED a smaller Jeric Teng from behind in their first round meeting. It injured Teng’s shoulder and its a good thing it wasn’t career-ending. It sidelined Teng though for a month. Did you hear Jarencio mince a single word? Now someone grabbed your fingers and wrist and you call it too low? Ask Teng what is low. Heck, Javillonar, your teammate, himself can tell you. Sorry Bobby Ray, the Tigers are not the Bad Boys of this generation. If UST is your Detroit, then you’ll probably in a hospital right now and not complaining how sore your wrist and fingers are.
The Big J have some words for you Bobby Ray. He sends you his regards and these words: “Kung ayaw mo masaktan, mag-CHESS ka na lang.”
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(Photos courtesy of Filoil Flying V)