PBA Governors' Cup

Veteran Tenorio keen on facing young gun Black in PBA finals

Delfin Dioquino
Veteran Tenorio keen on facing young gun Black in PBA finals

TITLE HUNT. LA Tenorio and Barangay Ginebra eye their fourth Governors' Cup championship in the last five years.

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Seasoned Ginebra guard LA Tenorio says going up against young players like Meralco sophomore Aaron Black helps him raise his game to another level

MANILA, Philippines – LA Tenorio has been playing in the PBA for so long that Aaron Black was still a child when he started his professional career.

Now, Tenorio and Black face off in a PBA title showdown as Barangay Ginebra and Meralco lock horns for the Governors’ Cup championship for the fourth time in the last five years.

“I’m just happy that I see Aaron playing in the big stage, in the finals as early as his young career here in the PBA,” said Tenorio, who was coached by Norman Black – the father of the Bolts’ sophomore – at Ateneo.

“For me, it is also a big achievement because while these kids are growing up, I’m still here playing at a high level, playing against them.”

“I’m looking forward to play against him and match up with him and compete with him.”

Times have changed for the 37-year-old Tenorio.

When the Gin Kings star entered the PBA in 2006, he was a still a newcomer who wanted to earn his stripes against the likes of battle-tested guards Johnny Abarrientos, Olsen Racela, Jimmy Alapag, and Jimwell Torion.

More than a decade later and six PBA titles after, Tenorio is now in the same position of the seasoned stalwarts he once went up against – a veteran trying not to get schooled by up-and-coming players.

“I’m sure they’re going to prove something against me,” said Tenorio, who also tangled with NLEX rookie Matt Nieto in the semifinals.

“With that, the level of competition rises so I need to level up my game to keep up with them. In the process, I also improve by playing against them.”

“I have to lift up my performance because I do not want them to get one over me. That is my mindset as a vet.”

Save for his infamous blunders in Game 3 of the semifinals that allowed the Road Warriors to extend the series, Tenorio has been magnificent in the playoffs.

He averaged 14.5 points, 6.2 assists, and 3.8 rebounds in six playoff games to help Ginebra overcome a twice-to-beat disadvantage against TNT and dispose of second seed NLEX to reach the finals.

On the Meralco side, Black has also upped his game as evidenced by his 16-point and 5-rebound output in beating No. 1 Magnolia in the sudden death of their best-of-five semifinals.

“In this time of my career, I’m happy because I’m able to improve what I need to improve because I’m playing against them,” Tenorio said.

“It is a great opportunity playing with these young players, aspiring players who are very competitive. I like that kind of mentality of young players because I’ve been there also.” – 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.