PBA: Tenorio gives Ginebra huge boost in tying semifinals series

Tenorio gives Ginebra huge boost in tying PBA series with Meralco

SCHEDULE: 2024 PBA Philippine Cup semifinals

Ginebra Gin Kings guard LA Tenorio in the PBA Philippine Cup semifinals against Meralco Bolts

Ginebra Gin Kings guard LA Tenorio in the PBA Philippine Cup semifinals against Meralco Bolts. –PBA IMAGES

Having gone through adversity and his playing role diminished in recent years, being named Player of the Game for an integral performance that put Barangay Ginebra back on level terms with Meralco in the PBA Philippine Cup semifinals meant a lot for LA Tenorio.

But Tenorio, whose role as coach Tim Cone’s gambit of being a surprise starter paid dividends in the Gin Kings’ 90-71 win Friday at Mall of Asia Arena, insists that there was no reason to play with a chip on his shoulder.

“To be honest, I don’t have to prove anything,” Tenorio said after Ginebra tied things up at 2-2 in the best-of-seven series. “My role now is to be a leader inside and outside of the playing court and this is the time that my younger teammates need me.”


READ: PBA: In need of veteran leadership, Ginebra turns to LA Tenorio

Tenorio has rarely played since returning in December from dealing with colon cancer, opting as some sort of a bridge between coaches and players. He had played more than 10 minutes since mid-April until the brutal loss in Game 3, logging almost 21 during garbage time.

That also gave the Kings an idea of putting Tenorio in his old role, which paid off when they raced to a 16-2 start and never looked back.

Tenorio finished with seven points, four rebounds, six assists and two steals as Ginebra turned the latest playoff duel with Meralco into a race-to-two.

Game 5 is set Sunday evening at the same venue.


“I also have to give credit to my teammates because they listen to me,” he said. “If they don’t listen to me, I don’t think I have to prove anything.

“I’m just happy to be here [in the postgame press conference podium], but of course you’re not gonna be content with this victory. I want to move forward and win the next game.”


Regaining groove

Japeth Aguilar, Christian Standhardinger and Stanley Pringle came through as well for the Kings, while Scottie Thompson regaining his offensive groove should serve as welcome news for Cone.

Thompson scored 15 points after making six of seven shots.

The Tenorio move was among the adjustments Cone made in posting the most convincing game of the series in terms of the winning margin.

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“We were so totally outplayed and outcoached in Game 3 that we had to do something different,” said Cone. “Whether this would hold, or be OK for Game 5, we have to take a look. Maybe we would come up with another lineup, pull a Yeng Guiao. Or maybe come back the same way.”

TAGS: Barangay Ginebra, LA Tenorio, PBA Philippine Cup

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