BARANGAY Ginebra coach Ato Agustin admitted LA Tenorio went against the designed play in a crucial endgame possession in a Game Five loss to San Mig on Saturday afternoon, but refused to take it too hard on his misfing playmaker.
With Ginebra trailing 76-78 and time down to 13.2 seconds, Agustin designed a play where he called for a pick and roll for Tenorio and 6-11 center Greg Slaughter while putting Chris Ellis, Japeth Aguilar and Mac Baracael in specific spots on the floor as second options.
Tenorio, however, didn't wait for the Slaughter pick and instead went straight to the basket, resulting in a wild shot against San Mig guard Mark Barroca and Joe Devance that hit the side of the board.
“It was supposed to be a pick and roll pero not a hurried shot,” Agustin said. “Eh sabi ko dapat nasa proper spots sila. Pero parang nagmadali. Imagine, nakakuha pa sila (Mixers) ng foul shot.
“Pero kailangan may shooters ako na maki-kickout kasi 13 seconds pa 'yun eh. Matagal pa 'yun. We’re down by two points and they were in penalty. I told them to make sure we go hard dahil marami naman tayong options.
The same thing happened in the next Ginebra play after rookie Justin Melton's split from the free-throw line left the door slightly ajar for the Gin Kings, 76-79, with seven seconds left.
Instead of going for a three-pointer or finding open shooters to hit a game-tying basket, Tenorio went coast to coast and missed on a layup.
The final sequence capped what had been a sloppy night for the usually steady Ginebra guard, who went 3-of-11 from the floor for nine points while committing six turnovers.
Overall, the Gin Kings had a conference-high 24 turnovers, which the Mixers translated to 27 points.
Asked what he told his starting guard inside the dugout, Agustin said he merely sought an answer but refused to probe deeper, aware that he needs to keep the team's morale high with Ginebra facing a must-win situation in Game Six of the best-of-seven series on Monday.
“Nag-tanong lang, why 'yung last shot na layup eh down by three (points). Pero wala lang, kasi kapag tinanong pa eh mada-down,” Agustin, a former league MVP, said. “Kailangan i-lift namin ang morale ng mga players. Kailangan bumawi kami at mag-bounce back sa Monday.”