PBA Philippine Cup

Surprise starter: Tenorio steadies ship for Ginebra in semis-tying rout of Meralco

Delfin Dioquino

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Surprise starter: Tenorio steadies ship for Ginebra in semis-tying rout of Meralco

COURT GENERAL. LA Tenorio in action for Barangay Ginebra in the 2024 PBA Philippine Cup.

PBA Images

LA Tenorio starts for the first time in the PBA Philippine Cup and steers Barangay Ginebra to a dominant win over Meralco that knots their semifinal series at 2-2

MANILA, Philippines – Barangay Ginebra head coach Tim Cone knows he can count on LA Tenorio when the going gets tough.

And the veteran guard responded accordingly as Tenorio keyed the Gin Kings to a resounding 90-71 romp of Meralco that tied their PBA Philippine Cup semifinals at 2-2 at the Mall of Asia Arena on Friday, May 24.

Starting for the first time this conference, Tenorio sparked a stellar start and finished with 7 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds, and 2 steals, helping Ginebra to get back on track in the best-of-seven series after losing the last two games.

“LA knows our execution like the back of his hand. He understands it, he knows how to get people in their spots, he know where their strengths are,” said Cone.

“That was something we were looking for today because we’ve been struggling with our offense, struggling with our execution. We knew that LA could do that.”

With the Gin Kings boasting of a stacked backcourt that features Scottie Thompson, Stanley Pringle, and Maverick Ahanmisi, Tenorio fell out of the rotation and played sparingly at the end of the eliminations and the start of the playoffs.

In fact, Tenorio – who, just lat year, survived a bout with colon cancer – played just under eight minutes combined in the first two games of the semifinals.

Tenorio, though, showed he is capable of delivering if given enough playing time as he put up 9 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists in over 20 minutes in Game 3, almost leading Ginebra to a last-ditch comeback.

“LA playing well in this series gave us the confidence that he can start and he deserves to start,” said Cone.

With Tenorio getting the surprise starting role, the Gin Kings rolled to a sizzling 31-15 start and maintained control the rest of the way en route to the most lopsided win of the series.

“Given this opportunity to start in a game again, I’m always ready. I always think of helping this team in any way, no matter how many minutes I play. I’m always ready,” said Tenorio.

The rest of Ginebra followed suit.

Christian Standhardinger posted a near triple-double of 15 points, 11 rebounds, and 8 assists, while Thompson broke out of his shooting slump and fired 15 points on a 6-of-7 clip, including a perfect 3-of-3 from beyond the arc.

The first three games of the semifinals saw Thompson average just 6.3 points on a dismal 22% shooting.

But Thompson finally hit his stride in Game 4, with his 7 straight points to end the third quarter giving the Gin Kings a commanding 73-49 lead.

Japeth Aguilar topscored in the win with 21 points on top of 6 rebounds and 2 blocks, while Stanley Pringle added 14 points and 4 steals.

“My role now in this team is to be a leader, inside and outside the playing court. This is the time the younger players in our team need me, of course the other vets also,” said Tenorio.

“I have to give credit to my teammates, they listen to me.”

Allein Maliksi and Chris Banchero paced the Bolts with 14 points each, while Chris Newsome chimed in 10 points.

The Scores

Barangay Ginebra 90 – J. Aguilar 21, Thompson 15, Standhardinger 15, Pringle 14, Ahanmisi 7, Tenorio 7, Pinto 4, Cu 3, Gumaru 3, Murrell 1, Pessumal 0R. Aguilar 0, David 0.

Meralco 71 – Banchero 14, Maliksi 14, Newsome 10, Caram 8, Hodge 6, Mendoza 5, Torres 4, Quinto 3, Bates 3, Almazan 2, Pascual 2, Jose 0, Rios 0, Dario 0, Pasaol 0.

Quarters: 31-15, 47-32, 73-49, 90-71.

– Rappler.com

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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.