Perhaps, there is something about Meralco that makes LA Tenorio click.
The cat-quick Barangay Ginebra guard pumped in a career-high 34 points as the Gin Kings subdued the Bolts, 98-85, last night for their first win in the PBA Governors Cup at Cuneta Astrodome.
Tenorio drove, hit jumpers, found the open man and was just a nightmare for the Bolts, particularly during the decisive third-quarter run when the Gin Kings began pulling away.
Creating his shots most of the time, Tenorio scored 16 points in the third as Ginebra outscored the Bolts, 33-25, and went on to reward Ato Agustin his first win as coach of the league’s most popular ballclub following a season-opening defeat against Petron.
“Our mindset was to get the first win. We didn’t want to get into a deep hole, this conference is a sprint,” said Tenorio, who helped Gilas Pilipinas secure a spot in the 2014 Fiba World Cup by finishing second in the recent Fiba Asia Championship here in Manila.
Tenorio was perfect from three-point range (5 of 5) and had a 48.1-percent clip from the field to surpass his previous career-best of 33 points, also against the Bolts during the 2011 Commissioner’s Cup.
“It just so happened that I had several good looks. I wasn’t even aware that I already broke my previous record,” said Tenorio.
The Bolts suffered their second defeat in three outings after losing steam in the fourth period. Cliff Hodge tried to revive a Meralco side that was lifeless in the face of Ginebra’s surge, but the Gin Kings had gained enough momentum from Tenorio’s heroics.
After Tenorio swished his last three halfway through the final quarter, Japeth Aguilar, Jayjay Helterbrand and Mark Caguioa also joined the scoring fray as the Kings stormed way ahead, 91-76, in the closing minutes.
“Our offense was fantastic, but it was really putting the stops that helped us get the win,” said Agustin. “If we play good defense, our offense will also click.”
At halftime, Aguilar and Tenorio both received a plaque of appreciation from PBA Commissioner Chito Salud for their contributions to the Gilas Pilipinas program.
Meanwhile, Talk N Text coach Norman Black is confident that his Tropang Texters can overcome the odds against winless San Mig Coffee today at Mall of Asia Arena.
Black will have to do without four key players—Jayson Castro, Jimmy Alapag, Larry Fonacier and Ranidel de Ocampo—who are on-leave after suiting up for Gilas Pilipinas.
“Our remaining players will still be there fighting against a very dangerous SMC team,” said Black. “Protecting the paint will be our main concern because Marcus Blakely has been a monster inside.”
The Tropang Texters opened their campaign in the season-ending conference with a 118-113 overtime win over Barako Bull while the Mixers lost against Rain Or Shine and Air21 with two-time MVP James Yap averaging five points in two games.
Barako Bull takes on Air21 in the other game with the Energy Cola hoping to get another spectacular output from the 5-foot-6 Eman Monfort. The Energy Cola and the Express split their two games.
Ginebra 98—Tenorio 34, Lowhorn 17, Caguioa 15, Aguilar 13, Ellis 9, Helterbrand 6, Urbiztondo 4, Baracael 0, Maierhofer 0, Wilson 0, Mamaril 0.
Meralco 85—West 21, Wilson 17, Hodge 16, Hugnatan 10, Ross 6, Timberlake 6, Salvacion 5, Mangahas 2, Reyes 2, Baclao 0, Guevarra 0.
Quarters: 28-19, 43-44, 76-69, 98-85