IT’S not a statement conference LA Tenorio has been doing for Barangay Ginebra in the ongoing PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
But several of his heroic acts for the Kings, like the one he pulled off on Saturday night against Phoenix in Panabo, Davao, is borne out of his desire to play once again for Gilas Pilipinas.
The veteran point guard admitted his inspired showing with the Kings of late is his way of proving he deserves to be in the Gilas team that will play in the Manila leg of the Olympic Qualifying Tournament this July.
“Yes, big help din 'yun,” he said when asked if he’s motivated to play for flag and country again after opting to give others a chance when Gilas 3.0 played and won the silver medal in the Fiba Asia Men’s Basketball Championship in Changsha, China last year.
Against the Fuel Masters at the Panabo Multi-Purpose Tourism, Sports, and Culture, Tenorio made a case for himself with the national squad after burying the go-ahead basket with 1.2 seconds remaining, 102-101.
Tenorio finished with 17 points, six rebounds, and nine assists as he got the last say his marquee duel with Phoenix’s RR Garcia (23 points, six rebounds, and nine assists).
The Kings trailed by as many as 58-39 early in the third period, and 97-90 entering the homestretch.
But again summoning their never-say-die spirit, the Kings managed to battle their way back behind import Othyus Jeffers, Joe Devance, and Mark Caguioa, before Tenorio capped the comeback with a step-back jumper off Garcia.
Tenorio said he had nothing in mind but to take the shot with time running out following a broken Ginebra play.
“Opportunity ulit to take the last shot after a broken play off a big rebound by Joe (Devance),” recalled Tenorio of the sequence.
Ginebra won for the second straight time and improved its record to 5-3 as it moved to third place behind Alaska.
Still, Tenorio said the Kings were just lucky enough to pull off the come-from-behind win.
“We didn’t play our game the whole 48 minutes. We we’re lucky we won that game,” he said. “But we have to improve our game and our defense most specially.”