LA Tenorio scored 12 of his 17 points in the final quarter to carry Ginebra to a hard-earned 89-82 win over Blackwater, enhancing the Kings' playoff chances in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Held to just five points through the first three quarters, Tenorio hit a three-pointer to pour cold water on a Blackwater rally that saw the expansion side come within two points of Ginebra in the final four minutes.
The Elite made one final stand to come within 80-85 on a basket by Bambam Gamalinda, but Tenorio and Mac Baracael combined for four free throws down the stretch to seal the Gin Kings’ fourth win in seven starts.
The victory forged a three-way logjam for fifth to seventh spots among Ginebra, GlobalPort and defending champion Purefoods Star.
“Napaka-importante sa amin nitong game na ito dahil kailangan naming mag-improve sa standings,” said Ginebra coach Ato Agustin, whose team has now won its last two games heading to the PBA All-Star break.
The Gin Kings continued to play without back-up guard Josh Urbiztondo, who is still recovering from a calf injury, while Jayjay Heltrabrand is coming off a bout with the flu.
Michael Dunigan led Ginebra with 27 points, 16 rebounds and two blocks. Greg Slaughter added 17 and 14 boards, while Mark Caguioa chipped in 15 in a balanced scoring attack.
The Elite, who sunk deeper to the cellar with a 1-6 (win-loss) card, are now in danger of missing the playoffs with four games left in their schedule.
Marcus Douthit led the team with 16 points and 14 rebounds.