DON’T be surprised if high-scoring guard LA Tenorio turns into a defensive lynchpin for Barangay Ginebra from hereon.
Finding no reason to take over on offense in a Barangay Ginebra team loaded with scorers, Tenorio took it upon himself to put more emphasis on defense on Wednesday night when a 93-72 win over Barako Bull ended the Kings' winless run in the PBA Commissioner's Cup at four games.
The former Ateneo star finished with 10 points, five rebounds, six assists, and three steals against the Energy Cola, but he made a bigger impact on defense during a sizzling Ginebra start that set the tone for the rout and sent thousands of Kings fans in the stands happy.
Tenorio outplayed Barako Bull's two playmakers, Josh Urbiztondo and Jonas Villanueva, during that stretch that consultant Rajko Toroman later cited his guards' lackluster play as one of the reasons for the loss.
“Maganda, maganda ang execution ng defense namin,” a beaming Tenorio said of a defense that held Barako Bull to 33 percent shooting in the match. “Mas ginanahan kami ngayon dahil sa depensa."
Tenorio has been known more for his offense during his time with Ateneo and Alaska, but he said he made a conscious effort to focus on defense beginning with the Barako Bull match.
"Actually, coming to this game, I really focused on just playing defense. Ayaw ko na guluhin pa `yung offense ng team kasi marami na kaming scorers kaya sa depensa lang ako talaga tumutok,” he said.
The reigning Jones Cup MVP has come under fire from fans in social media during the Kings' disappointing start to the season, but he hopes the momentum of Wednesday night's win - and the renewed focus on defense - will help turn things around for the popular franchise.
“Sana magtuluy-tuloy na ito, though hindi magiging madali against Rain or Shine,” said Tenorio, whose team goes up against Rain or Shine in Sunday’s main game at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.