BINAN, LAGUNA – Beating TNT Katropa is a must if Barangay Ginebra is to emerge champion in the PBA Governors Cup.
Sadly, the Kings failed in their first attempt on Sunday night.
The league’s most popular team was outshot, outplayed, and outworked by the Texters, 104-92, before a big crowd at the Alonte Sports Center in a showdown featuring two of the top contenders in the season-ending conference.
The rousing win made the Texters the No. 1 seed entering the playoffs while the loss proved to be a costly one for the Kings. Ginebra fell to No. 3 despite finishing tied with reigning champion San Miguel Beer at 9-2 by virtue of the winner-over-the-other rule.
Veteran guard LA Tenorio said teams such as TNT Katropa and San Miguel are among the elite ones which serve as roadblocks in the Kings’ bid to end an eight-year title drought. It’s essential, therefore, for them to get past both powerhouse squads if Ginebra is to reach the top.
“Yang ang mga teams talaga na kailangan naming talunin for us to be successful,” said Tenorio following the loss. “Obviously, marami pa kaming kailangan na i-polish, offensively and defensively.”
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Tenorio was the top local scorer for the Kings with 21 points on 9 of 16 shooting, while adding five rebounds. But the impressive numbers were not enough to carry the Kings past an opponent which Tenorio considers as the team to beat this conference.
“They played better than us and proved they are the No. 1 team in the league today,” stressed the former Ateneo playmaker.
At the same time, Tenorio said the win also reinforced Jayson Castro’s reputation as the best point guard in Asia. The Ginebra stalwart pointed out that his Gilas Pilipinas teammate was a tough match up for him as always.
“Actually, hindi lang sa akin kundi sa buong team kasi siya talaga ang focal point ng TNT,” said Tenorio. “Pinakita niya talaga na he’s the best point guard in Asia, not only in terms of scoring but also in ball distribution.”
Castro finished with 19 points, 10 assists, and four rebounds in 33 minutes of play.