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    'Big-game performer'

    Aug 27, 2012
    Tim Cone, left, and Norman Black have become so used to seeing LA Tenorio rise to the occasion in big matches. Jerome Ascano

    THE two coaches who helped mold LA Tenorio’s career can’t help but feel a sense of pride over the player he has turned out to be.

    “Wow, what a performance from LA,” Cone, who is in the United States, said in an SMS message to Spin.ph shortly after Tenorio and his Gilas II teammates duplicated a title feat in the Jones Cup last achieved by Cone’s Centennial Team in 1998.

    “He’s always been a big-game performer, the best I’ve ever coached,” Cone added.

    The best-I’ve-ever-coached part may be a bit of a stretch, though, considering Cone coached another great point guard at Alaska in Johnny Abarrientos, who with Olsen Racela as backup quarterbacked Cone’s star-studded squad in the 1998 Jones Cup.

    Before Tenorio suited up for Alaska, he played for Ateneo under Norman Black, who was the least bit surprised that the shifty 5-8 guard carried the fight for Gilas II when the chips were down in matches against Chinese-Taipei A and Team USA.

    “He won a lot of games for me in college, so there are no surprises there,” said Black. “He has a big heart and a lot of talent in that small body.”

    Black said Tenorio’s game is tailor-fit for the international game because he is one point guard who can break down opposing defenses with his penetration but at the same time can hit the three-point shot consistently enough to be a threat.

    “You can’t beat bigger teams if you can keep pounding it inside,” said Black. “You need to hit your outside shots. LA can break down defenses, but he can also hit that three-point shot.”

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    Cone reserved his biggest praise for Chot Reyes, who was also his assistant during the 1998 title run.

    “Give some tremendous credit to Chot and the way he got the best out of everyone,” Cone said. “Don’t forget he was also my assistant on that Centennial Team, so he’s won the Jones Cup twice now. What a feat.”

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    Tim Cone, left, and Norman Black have become so used to seeing LA Tenorio rise to the occasion in big matches. Jerome Ascano
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