LA Tenorio felt something odd upon learning that he’ll be playing for Barangay Ginebra when the 38th season of the PBA opens shop on September 30.
“Nakakapanibago lang talaga. Siyempre, sanay na akong kalaban lagi ang Ginebra sa PBA. Ngayon, nandito na ako, and then I’ll be playing with the crowd backing me up,” Tenorio told Spin.ph a day after the crack point guard was finally shipped to the Kings in a multi-player, four-team trade.
While Tenorio admitted expecting the complicated deal to push through after days of haggling between the parties involved, the superstar playmaker out of Ateneo said the thought of suiting up for the team long been acknowledged as the most popular in Asia’s pioneering pro league has yet to sink in.
Siot Tanquingcen, the Ginebra coach, said Tenorio has a lot to bring into the table in the coming season.
Aside from intensity, his leadership and hustle will definitely benefit the Kings as they gradually prepare the “changing of the guard” as former league MVP Jay-jay Helterbrand passes the mantle of leadership to Tenorio.
“Well, somehow, LA’s entry is a way of preparing the team for Jay-jay’s eventual retirement,” Tanquingcen admitted.
Helterbrand is now in his mid-30s, and his body already bore the brunt of wear and tear since entering the league in 2001.
Many believe it’s now just a matter of time before Ginebra’s longtime starting point guard hangs up his sneakers.
“Actually, di ko pa talaga alam ang sistema ng Ginebra. So it’s a matter of understanding what my role will be sa team,” said Tenorio.
“Alam ko may mga expectations ang mga tao sa pagpasok ko sa Ginebra, but we have a strong and competitive lineup, and I know mas maganda ang maipapakita namin this coming season,” added Tenorio, hero of the Smart-Gilas 2.0 team that bagged the William Jones Cup championship.
Tenorio also said he looks forward to playing alongside reigning MVP Mark Caguioa, one of the PBA veterans he truly admires.