Pido Jarencio was hired by the Globalport Batang Pier back in late January. After calling the shots for the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers for the better part of the last ten years, he’s finally realizing his dream of becoming a PBA head coach. How Globalport will fare under his fiery and flamboyant coaching style is yet unknown but we can look back at his time with the Growling Tigers to try to look for evidences.
(Note: LA = League Average)
UST has always been a good offensive rebounder under Coach Pido. They were 4.8 percent above league average (ALA) in Season 74, +2.5 ALA in Season 75 and +0.5 ALA in Season 76. Between Kevin Ferrer (career 7.7 percent ORB), Mariano (career 7 percent ORB) and Kareem Abdul (career 14.1 percent ORB), not to mention other big body guards like Jeric Teng, Kim Lo and Jeric Fortuna, the UST Growling Tigers did not lack for offensive rebounding back then.
Lucky for Coach Pido, his new team was one of the better offensive rebounding teams in the league (1 percent ALA in the 2013-14 PH Cup season). Coach Pido will definitely carry over this particular trait to the new Globalport. With Evan Brock – who caromed 10.5 percent of all available offensive rebounds last time around, Menk (12.3 ORB%), Najorda (10.4 ORB%) and Ponferrada (13.5 ORB%), Globalport will fight tooth and nail for every offensive rebound available.
UST’s offense is predicated on occupying the middle part of the floor — they usually run one or two more actions to setup someone — usually Abdul or Jeric — operating in the middle. Whether it’s a high post up, an isolation or a ball screen, Pido’s offensive philosophy is all about breaking the defense down from the middle.
Here they are isolating Abdul at the top of the key with Ferrer occupying the corner and Teng ready to make a cut through the middle.
And here they are again isolating Abdul from the middle with Teng occupying the elbow and Pe cutting baseline.
This was a regular play that UST liked to run for Abdul, Teng and Mariano. From there, he has their guards cutting baseline to open up one side of the court.
How does this bode well for Globalport?
Jay Washington is a 6’7″ big that knows how to operate on the high block. His quickness allows him to blow by most of the bigs in the PBA and his shooting (career 29% 3PT shooter) keeps defenders honest enough not to zone off on him. He’s the perfect player to occupy that middle for Coach Pido and will hopefully continue his stellar start with Globalport. So far it hasn’t been all roses and butterflies but I’m optimistic that Coach Pido can find a way to make Jay Wash terrorize defense like Abdul did in the UAAP.
Pack the Paint mentality
Pido’s teams have always been a team that likes to pack the paint. When I mean pack, I mean pack it. They’ll leave the weakside corner to provide a third defender on rolls and drives. They’ll double team on postups and send another defender near the paint just to be safe. It’s the biggest reason why over the last 3 years, the Tigers have ranked among the teams with the lowest percentage of shots allowed near the rim.
As you can see, the Tigers have always always allowed fewer than league average attempts near the rim.
Over the years, as the talent on the roster and the cohesiveness got better, their ability to contest shots near the rim got better (better positioning and better defensive spacing). Can Globalport execute this as well? That’s a big question mark.
Right now, Globalport is littered with small players or players not known for their toughness (for their position) – RR Garcia, Terrence Romeo, Nico Salva, Alex Cabagnot. Coach Pido’s defensive (and offensive) system is highly dependent on having the size advantage. Because of how much they pack the paint, being able to do the “dirty” work is important (like boxing out, a bit of rumble tumble here and there). This is where players like Justin Chua, Mark Yee, Jondan Salvador and Eric Menk come in — they’ll set the tone for the toughness that Coach Pido requires from his players.
Three-point Shot Defense
However, because of Coach Pido’s aggressive “pack the paint” mentality, teams have taken more shots from downtown when they play Coach Pido-led teams (see: table above). Is this a good thing or a bad thing?
Over the long run, it will be. The PBA’s average 3PT shooting percentage is right around 30 percent. At that rate, teams will score around 90 points per 100 possession — way below the PBA league average (which falls anywhere between 91 to 96 points per 100, depending on the conference).
However it is worth noting that even at those rates, shooting 30 percent from downtown is still way better than shooting 25 percent from midrange. Even considering the pros and cons of longer rebounds (more offensive rebounds but higher risk of fastbreak opportunities) on 3-point shots and the shorter (fewer offensive rebounds and a slightly lower risk of fastbreak opportunities), the 3-point shot is still the 2nd best shot in the game. Which is why Coach Pido should find the right balance between protecting the paint and allowing open threes.
It’s assumed that there is an inverse relationship between attacking the offensive glass and the stoutness of your transition defense (unless of course you’re the Indiana Pacers). It’s no different with these cats. Over the last three years, the Tigers had a hard time defending fastbreaks – they were always ranked among the worst transition defenders in the UAAP (with the exception of this year, again when UST started not attacking the glass as much). They usually have anywhere between 2~3 persons attacking the offensive glass – with another one waiting in midcourt and only one player over the halfcourt line. If a ballhandler rebounds the ball, UST is toast (this was one of the biggest reasons why Jeron Teng was able to put his stamp on that championship round).
The PBA, for that matter, has tons of that — especially with all these imports roaming around not to mention the increase in talent level from the PBA to the UAAP. Imagine Abueva streaking down the court going 1-on-1 against RR Garcia? or what about Ryan Reyes or KG Canaleta taking a PUJIT wide open because there were only 2 defenders? Gabe Norwood, Jeff Chan, Chris Lutz, LA Tenorio (underrated rebounder) and a few other more. Will Pido re-consider his stance on this considering he did change his tactics a bit in Season 76 with the Tigers?
For all of this talk, I think one thing Coach Pido brings to the Globalport is stability and culture. Over their first two years in the league, Globalport has been a rotating players in and out, not to mention head coaches (Capacio, Baculi, Ticzon), in a bid to find the right combination of players and head coaches that will bring them success in the PBA. Coach Pido will bring with him 8 years of experience coaching that has been defined by their #Puso and their ability to rise above their rankings (Pido only has a 56-54 record in the UAAP but had 2 Finals appearance and one championship). Globalport definitely needs some of that, especially after this youth movement they’re going through (getting four rookies). Will Pido be able to will this in-limbo Globalport team to a successful playoff run? And will he find a way to adapt to the PBA in time?