JUST hours after coming out of a hospital, LA Tenorio mustered just enough strength to lead Barangay Ginebra’s fourth-quarter surge in a 100-92 win over KIA Motors in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Friday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The veteran playmaker finished with 11 points, seven assists along with two steals in 30 minutes on the floor, shortly after being discharged from St. Luke’s Medical Center-Global City where he was confined due to stomach flu.
More importantly, the Gilas Pilipinas mainstay provided the leadership at a time when Ginebra was struggling to shake off a KIA side that had an immovable force inside in behemoth Peter John Ramos.
With Tenorio showing the way, veteran guard Mark Caguioa and Michael Dunigan managed to find their spots in the final period to help Gineba post back-to-back victories after an 0-2 start to the import-laden conference.
“Ginawa namin lahat sa game plan namin. We doubled him (Ramos), played zone defense. Pati man-to-man, pero talagang nahirapan kami sa kanya kasi talagang malakas,” said Ginebra coach Ato Agustin of the 7-3 Ramos.
Ramos delivered another monster game after finishing with 37 points and grabbing 22 rebounds, but his big numbers couldn’t prevent a KIA side that was once without playing-coach Manny Pacquiao from dropping to 1-4.
So strong was Ramos that Greg Slaughter and Billy Mamaril both picked up five fouls apiece late in the third period trying to keep the KIA behemoth away from the basket.
Agustin later gave credit to Japeth Aguilar, who stepped up for his foul-plagued teammates to contribute four points, six rebounds, a steal and a big block at the height of Ginebra’s fourth-quarter run.
“Iyung last line of defense namin was when Japeth was getting him (Ramos). Medyo dun kami umabante kasi fino-front namin siya. So somebody will help (on defense) sa lob pass (to Ramos) at yun ang magandang nangyari,” said Agustin.
Dunigan had 27 points and 11 rebounds to lead Ginebra, which also got 14 and eight rebounds from Slaughter. Caguioa and Joseph Yeo chipped in 11 apiece.