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

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

/ 05:23 AM May 26, 2024

LA Tenorio Ginebra PBA

Ginebra guard LA Tenorio.–PBA IMAGES

LA Tenorio turned in a throwback performance on Friday night to help Barangay Ginebra level its best-of-seven PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series with perennial victim Meralco to two games apiece.

The club’s elder statesman, who recently conquered colon cancer, was a stabilizing presence for the crowd darlings in the wire-to-wire, 90-71 triumph at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

So commendable was Tenorio’s performance that his all-around effort of seven points, four rebounds, six assists earned him the night’s Best Player of the Game honors.


“It felt like I’m a rookie again,” the 39-year-old playmaker told reporters on the heels of victory. “After everything that has happened to me, I’ve been trying my best to erase the bad things that happened … [and turn them] into a learning experience and a blessing.”

READ: LA Tenorio grateful to contribute to Ginebra’s semis push

“I’m just really grateful to [that I am able] to play in this kind of high-intensity, high-caliber game [like] in the semifinals,” he added. “Especially against Meralco, which we know can take us to a Game 6 or a Game 7.”

For now, though, the focus is on Game 5.

Ginebra will try to wrest the series lead when it battles Meralco anew on Sunday at the same bayside venue.


Breaking deadlock

The two teams begin their at 6:15 p.m. and the importance of the deadlock-breaker isn’t lost on either protagonist. The winner of Game 5 moves to within a win of a Finals appearance, a virtual twice-to-beat edge.

And for the Kings to gain the needed edge to knock out their persistent rivals, they’ll need to venture into Tenorio territory again.


“LA knows our execution like the back of his hand,” head coach Tim Cone said of his longtime floor general. “He understands it. He knows how to get people in the spots. He knows where their strengths are. That was something that we were looking for [in Game 4].”

READ: PBA: Ginebra bounces back, ties semis series vs Meralco

Tenorio’s outing on Friday was only the third time this All-Filipino that he was able to stuff the stat sheet, doing a little bit of everything. It was, he said, a product of playing 3×3 basketball just before Ginebra held its practices.

“We play 3×3 all the time—with the players who saw action in [Game 4’s] last five minutes. That’s been a big help to me. We use the 3×3 rules, too. I persevered. It has been tough on my body, especially with my age now. But I guess diet played a part in it, too, which is why I’m still playing like this,” he said.

Regular checkups

Tenorio had nine points in the Game 3 loss in Dasmariñas, Cavite, last week. But Game 4 was only the first time that he started for Barangay Ginebra in its Final Four series.

“[LA] really responded. He’s got a lot going on and him to be able to come out and do this kind of stuff and still do this stuff at this level is truly, truly amazing,” Cone added.

What makes Tenorio’s recent string of stellar outings even more astounding is that they were forged out of a frantic schedule devoid of practice.

Still monitoring his recuperation from the dreaded disease, Tenorio revealed that he actually went to Singapore for his mandatory checkup on Monday and went back home on Tuesday.

“I didn’t practice before the [Cavite] game for my regular checkup. I couldn’t miss that—blood test and checkup,” he said. “I thought I was not going to play since I wasn’t able to practice, [which would have been] fair.

“Maybe coach (Cone) felt that after that loss, he needed to start the vets to stabilize the game, to control the game,” he said of the equalizing victory that was also made possible by another veteran guard in Stanley Pringle.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

“It was only last year [when I was diagnosed with] cancer. Now, I’m playing again. So I’m really thankful that every day I still get to play in this level of competition,” Tenorio said.

TAGS: Barangay Ginebra, LA Tenorio

© Copyright 1997-2024 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.