SMART CLARK GIGA CITY – LA Tenorio just picked up from where he left off the last time.
The Barangay Ginebra guard wasn’t to be denied this time as he steadied the ship for the Kings in the homestretch of Game Four to survive TnT Tropang Giga, 98-88, and move closer to clinching his first-ever PBA Philippine Cup championship.
Tenorio scored nine of his team-high 22 points in the fourth quarter including back-to-back three-pointers in the final 2:29 that stymied a big TnT comeback from as big as a 17-point deficit.
He actually accounted for eight of the Kings’ last 10 points to ensure the win and give the franchise a commanding 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven finals.
Tenorio can personally win his first career All-Filipino championship – and Barangay Ginebra its first in 13 years – with another win in Game Five set on Wednesday also at the Angeles University Foundation gym.
The 36-year-old veteran said he badly wanted a win in Game Three which the Kings lost by a rout, 67-88, but where Tenorio topscored for 19 points – 12 in the first quarter alone – and shot 5-of-6 from three-point range.
“Last game pa ako gigil na gigil manalo. Yung last game gusto ko na talagang makuha sana. Kaya lang siyempre kung hindi naman kayang tapusin, 'di ba? We can’t win them all,” he said.
“But the thing is, ngayon nagkaroon ako ulit ng opportunity, then I have to grab it talaga.”
That he resoundingly did.
The opportunity came at the 3:01 mark of the final quarter and TnT in the middle of a big comeback by closing the gap at 82-88.
Roger Pogoy then nailed a three-pointer to make it an 85-88 count, before Tenorio did his thing inside.
The Barangay Ginebra playmaker answered with his own trey, but Pogoy responded by hitting another one from beyond the arc to make it 88-91.
Tenorio, however, had the last laugh when he sank his final three for the night to restore order for the Kings.
Coach Tim Cone later described those two Tenorio shots from three-point range as "cold-blooded."
“Again it’s an opportunity na binigay sa akin. Masyado nilang dine-deny si Japeth (Aguilar) and Stanley (Pringle). I was open actually, dalawang beses. So I have to take it,” he said.
“Miss or make, I have to take it as long as may chance. E, na-shoot,” Tenorio added. “Sa akin ready lang ako parati.”
And for sure, he will come the next game when the Kings go for the title-clinching win.
For more PBA updates, click here.