SPECULATIONS continue to swirl around LA Tenorio as his numbers continue to slide this season, but one of his good friends remained unwavering in his belief that the Ginebra star guard will bounce back soon.
Part of the sellout crowd that saw Ginebra humiliated by Globalport in the curtain raiser at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Sunday night, actor and matinee idol Rayver Cruz believes Tenorio will redeem himself and be back to his old self with Ginebra in no time.
Through nine games this season, Tenorio is averaging a career low of 6.44 points to go with four rebounds and 3.78 assists per game and has seen his minutes dwindle as Ginebra continued to slump after an impressive start to the PBA Philippine Cup.
These numbers are even way below his average back when he was still a struggling rookie guard at San Miguel Beer in 2006, where he tallied 8.19 points, 2.45 rebounds and 3.15 assists per game.
But for Cruz, Tenorio remains one of the key pieces in Ginebra's bid to snap a seven-year title drought.
“Syempre, kaya pa rin ng Ginebra na mag-champion. Syempre, lalo na andun si LA Tenorio, buo pa rin (ang tiwala ko) kay LA. Magaling si LA,” Cruz told Spin.ph.
“Oo, babawi 'yun. Magaling si LA. Alam kong magaling yun at leader talaga,” he added.
Asked what seems to be bothering his friend who these days is a forlorn figure at the far end of the Ginebra bench during games, Cruz had no ready reply.
“Not feeling well siguro,” said the 25-year-old matinee idol before bursting into laughter.
“Hindi ko talaga alam eh. Pero makakabawi pa naman yan, syempre,” he added.
Meanwhile, Spin.ph has learned that Tenorio even had a rift with fellow Ginebra superstar Mark Caguioa during practice last month, in the weeks before the Gin Kings' form started to take a turn for the worse after a 5-1 start to the season.
The event was confirmed by several Ginebra sources but denied by coach Jeffrey Cariaso.
“I’m sorry, but there’s no rift in the team,” said Cariaso before hastily turning his back in a previous Spin.ph interview.
Meanwhile, Spin.ph conducted an 'on the street' and online surveys, where Ginebra fans gave mixed reaction on Tenorio’s continued stint for the league's most popular team.
One Ginebra fan, Jonathan Velasco, asked Spin.ph to relay his statement to Tenorio: “Pakisabi unwanted (na rin) siya ng fans!”
Here's a video of the interview of Rayver Cruz and Cariaso:
Another fan, Ray Ryan Santayana, is even pushing for the #TradeTenorio hashtag to trend.
“Simulan na natin #tradetenorio. Mukhang ayaw na niya sa Ginebra. Gusto yata sa dribble drive offense,” said Santayana, obviously comparing Tenorio’s performance with Cariaso’s triangle offense to the dribble drive offense of Chot Reyes with Gilas Pilipinas.
The #TradeTenorio hashtag has been piling up comments from fans, mostly from diehard supporters of Ginebra.
Longtime Ginebra fan Eva Soriano said she is not happy with how Tenorio has been throwing tantrums during games, especially whenever his teammates put to waste his assists by missing easy shots.
“Yun ang hindi ko gusto kay LA, nagdadabog siya sa game. Minsan naman ayaw pumasa. 'Yung pagdadabog niya nakikita ng lahat. Game yun eh,” said Soriano.
“Baka passionate talaga siya, pero hindi pa rin maganda tingnan eh. Bakit ka magdadabog, nasa court ka? May hindi ka nagustuhan, magdadabog ka? Nakaka-apekto sa morale ng team yan,” she added. “Pag may player na ganun sa court, negative yun!
“May attitude (problem) talaga siya… kitang kita naman!”
Ginebra fanaddicts elders Rhen Galang and Badette Lucanas do not share the view.
“Sana hindi muna trade. Medyo mababa ang laro niya, pero understandable 'yun. Wala pang pahinga 'yan. Tingnan muna natin hanggang next conference,” said Galang, a regular fixture in Ginebra games.
“Yang pagdadabog, nasa Alaska pa si LA, ganyan na 'yan. Kung nasundan mo career ni LA, alam mo 'yun,” he said.
As for Lucanas, an active Ginebra critic on different social media networks, she’d rather see Ginebra keep an intact and solid lineup for a longer period to develop chemistry.
“Palagay ko culture ang problema sa Ginebra. Yung sistema nila, hindi sa players,” Lucanas said. “Sana gayahin 'yung Purefoods at Rain or Shine, nag-succeed sila without trading key players. Intact system nila and they know what they’re doing."
Here are some of the comments from fans: