LA Tenorio feels Barangay Ginebra’s heated PBA Governors’ semifinal series against TNT KaTropa prepared the Gin Kings for their finals rematch against Meralco.
The Gin Kings enjoyed size advantage over the Texters with Greg Slaughter, Japeth Aguilar, and Joe Devance patrolling the paint, but their opponents found a way to negate that by controlling the tempo of the game.
That was evident in TNT’s 103-96 win in Game Two in Batangas where Slaughter and Devance combined for just 12 points, while the Texters outrebounded the taller Gin Kings, 52-47.
Eventually, the Gin Kings closed the best-of-five series in four games with a come-from-behind 115-105 win on Sunday night – giving Tenorio some assurance heading into the rematch against the Bolts starting on Friday in Lucena.
“Yes, I’m very confident with my team right now,” Tenorio told a couple of scribes after the series-clinching win. “Dun sa mga ginawa sa amin ng Talk ‘N Text, parang na-expose yung mga weakness namin.
“Even though we have an advantage, yung frontline namin, medyo nakita rin yung mga weaknesses namin, and, you know, it’s a good thing na nakita na namin,” he added.
“Hopefully malinis namin 'yun going to the finals.”
Tenorio has been consistent in the semifinals, punctuating the series with 25 points, seven assists, six rebounds, and one steal that negated his six turnovers in 39 minutes in Game Four.
And the 33-year-old playmaker should sustain his fine play in the title series where he expects the pressure to be on the defending champions.
“Definitely, kasi we’re gunning for the back-to-back,” Tenorio said. "Sila, gusto nila makabawi at definitely, gusto nila makuha ang first championship ng Meralco, ‘di ba? Definitely, nasa amin ang pressure.”
Aside from the pressure to defend the crown, the desire for payback is what Tenorio is bracing for from the recharged Bolts.
“I think yung rematch na ‘to, ito yung inaabangan ng Meralco,” Tenorio said. “I’m sure gusto nilang gumanti. They’re very hungry and nagpalakas talaga sila, nandyan si Ranidel, and then their guards are really playing well: Baser Amer and Newsome are playing well.”
“Plus Durham is very hungry,” he added. “For him, it’s really why he came back, because of the unfinished business na nangyari sa kanya last year. So it’s going to be a tough matchup. Compared dito sa semifinals, mas mahirap yung against Meralco.”