MANILA, Philippines – Barangay Ginebra's 72-70 loss to two-time defending champion San Miguel Beer on Sunday, January 8 does not feel like a setback to veteran guard LA Tenorio.
"This game was tough but we put up a fight even though we were struggling offensively, we didn't give up on defense. I think that’s a positive sign," the 32-year-old said following the Gin Kings' fourth loss in 7 games in the 2017 PBA Philippine Cup.
Tenorio, who missed a floater designed for him in the final possession that would have sent the game into overtime, aptly rued the team's struggle to make shots but lauded the Gin Kings' defensive effort in a low-scoring affair that could've gone either way.
"We’re struggling on offense. Our defense is always there," noted Tenorio, who finished with 8 points and 4 assists while shooting 3-of-12 from the field.
"For example in this game we did a good job of defending San Miguel because I think they’re averaging 110 points per game. Earlier they had just 72 against us. The problem is our offense. We have to gain our confidence back every game."
Ginebra bricked 50 field goal attempts, including 16 triples in this game. Only Japeth Aguilar and Sol Mercado reached double figures with 17 and 11 points, respectively.
But what did them in was giving up offensive rebounds to Arwind Santos inside the final minute that allowed 3 straight possessions for the Beermen and none for the Gin Kings to tie or take the lead when down by just two. They had rallied from 9 points down in the fourth quarter.
"Aside from that one shot (Tenorio's last missed attempt), we’re going to look at the whole game," Tenorio said. "I think it’s a good sign for us if we play like that for the next games. I think may mararating ‘yung team namin (the team can go places)."
Ginebra likewise blew an opportunity to defeat the vaunted San Miguel that had its 3-time MVP June Mar Fajardo limited to just 11 points on two-of-6 field goals and 5-of-6 free throw shooting.
"We should be disappointed about this game," Tenorio admitted. "But you know looking at the bigger picture, if we can do that against June Mar… There’s no other June Mar in our next games."
"So I think if we can do that same effort every game I think we have a better chance to go to the next round."
Ginebra has had an unsteady conference so far coming off its first championship in 8 years last October. They next face Meralco in a rematch of the 2016 Governors' Cup Finals on Saturday, January 15 in Iloilo City, followed by games against Blackwater, Phoenix, and NLEX to wrap up eliminations.
"Bottom line is we just have to make our shots and keep our defensive mindset going into the game," said Tenorio. "I think we’re gonna be okay." – Rappler.com