BOCAUE – LA Tenorio wasn’t surprised that Meralco went for broke in its PBA Philippine Cup game against Barangay Ginebra on Sunday night.
Besides badly needing a win to keep their slim hopes of making the playoffs alive, the Bolts are also slowly gaining momentum heading into the stretch run of the season-opening tournament, according to Tenorio.
The Bolts posted their first back-to-back wins of the season as they eased past the Kings, 84-82, at the Philippine Arena to improve at 4-6 and remain in contention for a quarterfinal berth.
“We knew that they’re peaking for the past games, and medyo nakukuha na nila yung rhythm nila as a team,” said the veteran guard.
The game marked the first meeting between the two ballclubs since their historic Game 7 showdown for the Governors Cup championship attended by a record crowd of 54,086 in the same venue.
While Tenorio refused to acknowledge that it was a revenge win for Meralco, he feels the Finals loss motivated the team to play its best against Ginebra.
“Alam din namin na may added motivation sila dahil dito namin sila tinalo (last year),” said Tenorio of the Bolts, who played minus the injured Cliff Hodge and Jared Dillinger.
But Tenorio insisted Ginebra had no one to blame but itself for the loss.
“It’s on us especially sa amin na first group, especially sa akin. It’s a responsibility to start and finish the game well,” said Tenorio, who shot 1-of-8 from the field to finish with just five points.
The Kings fell to a 5-5 record for solo sixth place and lost the chance to finish inside the Top 2 of the standings entering the playoffs.
“This one really hurt us standing-wise,” Tenorio admitted. “But again, we’re not yet out so we still have one game. We just have to move forward and prepare for the next game, a do-or-die one for us.”
That one won’t be easy for the Kings either as they will be up against the streaking Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, who are currently in solo third place at 5-3.
The two will tangle on the final date of the eliminations on March 2 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.