BARANGAY Ginebra coach Tim Cone has mixed emotions having LA Tenorio back in harness for the Gin Kings in their buildup for the PBA Governors’ Cup.
While disheartened that Tenorio fell short of making the final cut for Gilas Pilipinas’ Final 12 roster, the Gin Kings coach is glad to have his star playmaker back in the fold earlier than expected, making an appearance in the team’s tune-up game against Tropang TNT on Wednesday.
“I’m very sad for him, but I’m very happy for myself,” Cone said in a chat with a couple of scribes after the practice game. “On a selfish standpoint, I’m happy that he got let go from the national team and we can get him moving forward. But for him, obviously it’s a big blow.”
“You work hard, you travel, get away from your family, do all this work, and at the very end, you don’t get to join the party,” he added. Another Ginebra player, Japeth Aguilar, made the roster
Cone recalled the time when he did the same to his player, Jeffrey Cariaso, when he was coach of the Centennial national team in 1998.
“I did drop Jeffrey, who I was very close to. And it devastated Jeffrey that I had to do that,” Cone recounted. “It was just a really hard thing to do. But somebody’s going to be the one not there. Maybe it would’ve been Ryan (Reyes) or Jayson (Castro). You never know. But LA and Calvin are the ones who have to deal with it.”
“Being cut and going through the emotional turmoil is also a huge sacrifice. That’s probably the greatest sacrifice,” the former national mentor added. “It’s like going to the battle and being left in the battlefield dead, everybody goes away and you’re still dead on the battlefield. If they look at it that way, I think that they’ll be fine with that.”
Cone expects Tenorio to make a smooth transition from Gilas to Ginebra after giving him some deserved rest.
“Just physically and mentally, he needs a break,” the American coach said. “When we took that long break after the conference, he was right back at it with Gilas, so he never really got a break. We’re giving him a break. I think he deserves it and in the long term, it’ll help us more.”
But Tenorio seems so eager to rejoin practice that he insisted on rejoining the team early.
“I wanted him back next Wednesday, but he said he wants to come back by Tuesday, so that’s up to him,” Cone said.
Tenorio is just sticking with the positives after missing the final cut at Gilas.
“Masaya naman ako. Masaya ako na nakabalik na ako dito,” the veteran point guard said. “At least nakita ko na pamilya ko after three weeks. Tapos balik na rin ako dito, looking forward na makapag-practice na rin dito.”