LA Tenorio combined with Japeth Aguilar in a swashbuckling second-half offensive as Barangay Ginebra whipped the Alaska Aces, 96-89 to firm up its hold of second spot in the PLDT myDSL-PBA Philippine Cup on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The 5-8 Tenorio played a complete game against his former team, firing 24 points on top of eight rebounds and six assists as he pumped life back to Ginebra's offense after a mid-game wobble.
Tenorio’s presence on the floor stabilized Ginebra’s offense, particularly in the third period when Ginebra turned a nine-point deficit into a 68-65 lead going into the final 12 minutes of play.
On the other hand, Aguilar added 21 points, seven rebounds, six assists and three blocks in 40 minutes in another solid performance for the team's leading scorer this season.
Ginebra coach Ato Agustin said with the team’s seventh win in eight starts, the team has to guard against peaking too early in the double-round eliminations, especially as they prepare for the highly-anticipated Christmas Day match with unbeaten sister team Petron Blaze.
“Siyempre, yun din ang worry namin (early peaking of the team), pero alam naman namin kung paano sila (Gin Kings) bibigyan ng playing time. Kailangan lang namin mag-adjust sa laro,” said Agustin after the game.
Ginebra, which shot a high of 50.8 percent from the field in the game, outscored Alaska, 26-15 in the third period, behind the 14 points of Aguilar who attacked the basket with ferocity at every opportunity.
The high-leaping Aguilar went 11-of-16 from the free throw ine, sustaining his aggressiveness despite getting into several physical skirmishes inside the paint with Alaska’s Gabby Espinas and Calvin Abueva.
Top rookie pick Greg Slaughter acquited himself well in his first match-up with Alaska’s veteran big man Sonny Thoss, scoring 18 points to go with eight boards and two blocks.
JV Casio led the Aces (3-6) with 27 points while Thoss had 22 and six rebounds.