Gins give Batang Pier rude welcomeBy Musong R. Castillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—Frolicking in a free-flowing game in front of the PBA’s biggest season-opening crowd, Barangay Ginebra San Miguel got off to a dream Philippine Cup start Sunday night after posting a thorough 110-90 destruction of Global Port at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Six players scored in twin digits and LA Tenorio showed his true worth in his first game as a Gin King as Ginebra finished off the newcomer Batang Pier with a flurry.
“We got over opening day jitters, the distractions,” Ginebra coach Siot Tanquingcen said. “It is good to start this way.”
The Kings, sixth placers here last season, opened up leads of as many as 21 points in the first half and 24 in the third period before encountering some resistance midway in the fourth as the Batang Pier came within 86-94 after a triple by Gary David.
But Ginebra quickly regained momentum behind Tenorio, who dished off four of his night-high 10 feeds in a back-breaking 14-2 run that put the game away, 108-88, going into the final 62 seconds.
“That’s why we worked very hard to get him (in the preseason trade with Alaska),” Tanquingcen, who, as coach of San Miguel Beer several years back, dealt away Tenorio to the Aces for Mike Cortez, said.
“That’s his value to this team. He brings a lot of intangibles to the game, the poise in the endgame,” Tanquingcen added of Tenorio, who finished with just two points but also had nine rebounds.
Mark Caguioa led the Kings with 18 points, with seven of those points coming inside that run courtesy of Tenorio assists.
Willie Miller, the former two-time MVP, led Batang Pier with 26 points, carrying the fight for the rookie squad with national player and last year’s scoring champion David struggling all night offensively.
In fact, that three-pointer was David’s only field goal for the game.
The last time Ginebra won this big in a season-opening game was during the first year of Welcoat (now Rain or Shine) seven years ago, when the Kings destroyed the Elasto Painters, 102-69.
Rico Maierhofer, injured for most of last season, contributed 14 points and 11 rebounds for Ginebra, whose two rookies, Keith Jensen and Chris Ellis, played as good as advertised.
Jensen had 13 points and Ellis 12 as the duo got a great glimpse of what it feels like playing for the crowd-darlings with 18,901 people packing the Big Dome.
GINEBRA 110—Caguioa 18, Maierhofer 14, Mamaril 14, Jensen 13, Ellis 12, Hatfield 11, Raymundo 8, Maliksi 7, Helterbrand 5, Cortez 4, Tenorio 2, Wilson 2.