‘Lonely’ LA Tenorio’s vintage show boosts Ginebra
LA Tenorio’s performance in Game 1 of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner’s Cup Finals is not much of a surprise for his longtime teammate who is equally productive whenever the league’s biggest prize is at stake.
“That’s what he’s known for,” import Justin Brownlee said after Tenorio’s 22 points were one of the keys in the Gin Kings’ 96-81 rout of the Bay Area Dragons on Christmas Day at Mall of Asia Arena.
“He may not be at his best throughout the eliminations, but as soon as the playoffs or the Finals come around, he’s probably playing better basketball than any point guard in the league right now,” added Brownlee.
Tenorio is three wins shy of replicating a role he essayed two years ago when the pandemic forced the PBA to stage a bubble setup in Pampanga.
The league’s all-time leader in consecutive games was named Finals Most Valuable Player in the 2020 Philippine Cup despite starting slow due to the effects of an appendectomy procedure done before the bubble.
This year, Tenorio kept extending his record Iron Man streak, but his minutes were reduced owing to Ginebra’s deep lineup and the youth movement.
But the 38-year-old Tenorio, who in the eliminations logged an average of 23 minutes per contest, has made it a habit of staying ready.
“I understand that with the composition of our team that I have to step back a bit,” he said after a quarterfinal game against NorthPort. “If … I get that opportunity this playoffs, then I will do my best to help the team advance and win every game. At this point of my career, it’s a given that I have to make my presence felt in the playoffs.”
A bit of a damper to his vintage performance is the absence of his family, who had to push through with a long-planned vacation abroad without him.
But missing the trip would be worth it if Tenorio ends up with a title.
“Might as well win this thing all the way, right?” he said.
WATCH: LA Tenorio, who scored a conference-high 22 points in Barangay Ginebra's Game 1 victory, says there's mixed emotions playing on Christmas Day with his family currently overseas for a pre-arranged vacation. #PBAFinals | via Jonas Terrado
Posted by Inquirer Sports on Sunday, December 25, 2022