VETERAN Ginebra playmaker LA Tenorio sounded puzzled after hearing reports that the Gin Kings are reporting for practice next January 5 with a new coach at the helm.
But given the seeming revolving door of coaches at the Ginebra camp over the past two years, Tenorio said he has learned to accept the fact that management, in the end, has the final say.
“I’m not in a position to tell the management kung ano ang gagawin (on the reported coaching change), pero kung yun ang desisyon ng management, we just have to follow,” the Ginebra guard told Spin.ph.
It has been two weeks since Barangay Ginebra’s swift playoff exit, which has been attributed to the team’s struggles with coach Jeff Cariaso’s system.
Tenorio explained playing the triangle offense requires a lot of patience and difficulties in finding the right pieces to fit the complicated system that coach Tim Cone has used successfully over two decades.
“It takes a lot of years (to understand the triangle), siguro mga isa or dalawang taon. Siyempre, kailangan din ng mga players na fit sa triangle,” added the 30-year-old playmaker, who is currently on vacation in Cebu with his entire family for the holiday break.
The former Ateneo star played under Cone from the 2008-09 season to 2011-12, winning a PBA title during the 2010 Fiesta Conference and gaining the PBA Finals MVP trophy.
He admitted that being in a long, losing stretch can be tough, especially now that he’s playing for the pro league’s most popular ball club.
“Mahirap eh, especially I’m one of the point guards of the team. Kaya nga ako ginawang team captain ni coach Jeff, para matulungan ko yung mga teammates kong maintindihan yung triangle. I hope may continuity pa rin (on what Cariaso has started) but if not, so be it kung sino (ang new coach),” he added.
Since Ginebra’s 83-67 quarterfinal loss to Talk ’N Text two weeks ago, marking another quick playoff knockout for the underachieving team, Tenorio has appealed to the Gin Kings’ legion of fans to keep the faith.
For one, he said that the all-Filipino conference’s semifinalists - Alaska, Rain or Shine, San Miguel Beer and Talk 'N Text - have one thing in common.
“Dun sa apat na naglaro sa semis, the common thing is matagal na sila magkakasama at magkakakilala,” he said.
“Yes, natalo ang Talk ’N Text sa San Miguel, pero kasi, monster lang talaga si June Mar (Fajardo), tapos, ang Rain or Shine naman, perfect example iyan ng matagal na magkakasama,” he added.
With management doing much of the wheeling and dealing that enabled Ginebra to draft Greg Slaughter last year, bring in Japeth Aguilar, Jay-Ar Reyes, add Joseph Yeo during the offseason and the triangle offense still a work in progress for the team, Tenorio said the Gin Kings are obviously a team in transition.
“Hindi ganun kadali mag-champion dahil kahit magagaling ang mga players, it’s more than just talent,” he said.
“Siyempre, ayaw ko naman sabihin ng management na nakikialam ako. In fact, nagpapasalamat pa rin kami dahil sa mga players na dumating, pero sa mga (Ginebra) fans, pasensya lang muna talaga,” he added.
Tenorio hopes the break can refresh his tired legs and body after foregoing a vacation since his Gilas stint this year. His numbers in the Philippine Cup are his lowest in the last four years, norming just 7.0 points, 4.2 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.3 steals, while shooting just 34.9 percent from the field.