Cone: Finals MVP Tenorio drove Ginebra ‘motivationally’ inside bubble
MANILA, Philippines—The PBA’s Iron Man finally got his golden suit.
Already a five-time champion before the 2020 Philippine Cup, Tenorio played 663 straight games until the fifth game of the championship series Barangay Ginebra and TNT that ended with him taking home the elusive All-Filipino title.
Tenorio already impressed everyone when he fought through pain after recuperating from laparoscopy surgery before entering the bubble in Clark, but he wowed his head coach Tim Cone even more when he was named Finals MVP.
“Finally! I told you we can get this All-Filipino [title].’ As we hugged, I said the last time we hugged was in the [2019 Governors’ Cup] championship, and he said to me when we hugged that, ‘This was nice, coach, but we have to win the All-Filipino,’” said Cone after Ginebra’s 82-78 Game 5 win over the Tropang Giga Wednesday.
Tenorio continued his Iron Man streak as he finished with 10 points and six assists in the clincher to cap off the series with averages of 13.6 points, 2.8 rebounds, 6.2 assists, and 1.4 steals.
Cone said what impressed him the most about Tenorio was the attitude he displayed in the bubble.
“I mean when he first arrived he was about 30% of his game, but he still figured out a way to battle through it. But even at that moment, he was immediately talking up the fact that this was the All-Filipino, he hadn’t won one, we hadn’t won one in a long time, and it was special,” said Cone.
The Gin Kings last won the Philippine Cup in the 2006-2007, the same season that Tenorio entered the league as the fourth overall pick of San Miguel.
It would take Tenorio three years to win his first title, the 2010 Fiesta Cup with Alaska, and he’s since won either the Governors’ or Commissioner’s Cups with Ginebra since then.
“He drove us motivationally throughout this whole tournament. And that’s why more than just the points, the shots or whatever, to me that’s why he was our MVP of this bubble.”