THEY don’t call LA Tenorio “Showtime” for nothing.
The heady point guard was unanimously chosen as the Accel-PBA Press Corps Player of the Week after consistently stepping up when needed, enabling Barangay Ginebra to overcome the odds against a very formidable foe and advance to the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals.
In back-to-back wins over Talk N Text in the week that was, Tenorio averaged 22.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 6.5 assists, propping the Kings’ charge from a 1-2 deficit in the best-of-five semifinals duel which only three teams have previously come back from in league history.
What makes Tenorio’s performances more noteworthy is the fact he dished those off despite a sore right elbow and being under the weather at times.
“The last two games talagang naka-focus ako,” said the 28-year-old. “I motivated myself in a lot of ways para lang talaga makatulong ako sa team na manalo. Kasi wala pa akong nilalarong maganda sa semis. Hindi ko iniisip na may injury ako o may sakit, basta focus ako to get Games 4 and 5.
“S’werte naman and God is good talaga dahil he gave me strength and wisdom nitong last two games. Credit also to my teammates and coaching staff sa tiwalang ibinigay nila sa akin. Kaya I want to share this citation with my team.”
Ginebra coach Alfrancis Chua said Tenorio picking up the cudgels for the team that is sorely missing the services of injured reigning MVP Mark Caguioa is astounding in itself.
“Siya talaga ang nagdadala ng team. Parang siya ang naging heart and soul ng team nu’ng mawala si Mark,” said the pony-tailed strategist.
“Ang maganda nito, nire-respeto siya ng mga teammates niya at siya din ganu’n. At Iba talaga ang kinikilos niya, especially kapag crucial na.”
Tenorio showcased that most in the deciding match last Sunday, when he scored 12 of his teamhigh 28 points in the fourth quarter to prop Ginebra’s stand against repeated fightbacks by TNT and into a 111-103 victory.
In what would be his best game yet in the team which acquired him from Alaska only before the season started, Tenorio also finished with six rebounds and five assists despite being in foul trouble from the third quarter on.
Tenorio already gave a glimpse of what was to come right in Game 4, when he notched 16 points, eight rebounds and as many assists for a 104-101 nail-biter of a win that tied the Cebuana Lhuillier-sponsored series at two games apiece.
Prior to that game, Tenorio was averaging just 8.6 points, 3.0 rebounds and 3.6 assists, and those were jacked only by his 10, 4 and 5 in an 80-98 game 3 loss last Wednesday.
Those victories gave Ginebra the right to face Tenorio’s former team in the best-of-five title duel starting Wednesday and Chua can’t help but make another pitch for the man also dubbed “The Lieutenant.”
“Malaking plus talaga iyung may LA ka sa team,” said Chua. “Kaya nga para sa akin hindi lang siya pang-Player of the Week. Pang-Best Player of the Conference siya.”(pr)