BARANGAY Ginebra may have its formidable Twin Towers, an array of top guns led by Mark Caguioa, athletic fastbreak finishers like Chris Ellis, and a deep, solid bench. But if you want to stop the Kings, you have to stop little guy LA Tenorio.
That came from San Mig starting guard Mark Barroca, who said Tenorio is so good and so smart he makes things happen for the Gin Kings.
“Sobrang galing kasi ni LA at sobrang utak na player. Marami siyang pwedeng gawin. Pwedeng umatake, pwedeng maging decoy. Kaya pinag-aralan ko talaga kilos niya,” said Barroca after San Mig dealt Ginebra just its second loss this season, 83-79, on Sunday night.
Barroca was among the standouts in what was only San Mig's fourth win in 11 games in the PBA Philippine Cup, finishing with 16 points, seven rebounds, six assists and three steals to win Player of the Game honors.
But for the former Gilas captain, his biggest impact in the game was his defense on Tenorio and Ginebra's ball-screen attack, from which he said the Gin Kings' offense flows.
Tenorio, who was averaging 8.5 assists this season going to the game, only had three against the Mixers.
“Yun ang point of attack nila. Sobrang galing ni LA pag nabibigyan ng ball screen. Kaya alam namin na pag magaling kami dumensa run, maco-contain namin sila,” he said.
“Dun din kasi nagmumula ang pick and roll nila. Although marami rin silang pick and roll kagabi, marami ring nag-mintis na tira sila,” he added while giving credit to his teammates' help defense on Tenorio’s receivers.
Barroca has risen to become one of San Mig's top players in only his third season as a pro, although the Zamboanga native remains in the shadows of more popular teammates like James Yap and Marc Pingris.
Barroca said he doesn't mind.
“Kahit hindi ako napapag-usapan, okay lang ako. Basta makatulong lang ako sa team, basta makatulong ako sa teammates ko. Kahit zero ako basta maganda record namin at makabalik sa playoffs, happing happy na ako nun,” said the former Far Eastern University guard.
“Ang sa amin lang naman kailangan namin makapasok sa top six. Bahala na kung sino kalaban. Makaka-balanse na kami nun. Talaga nag-struggle lang kami nung una,” Barroca said.
Barroca said he hopes the win over league-leader Ginebra is a sign that San Mig has finally turned the corner after a poor start to the season.
“Galing kasi kami sa bakasyon, kulang sa preparasyon, tapos wala pang chemistry,” he said. “Tingin ko naman at sana nga nagpe-peak na kami. Pero sana yung last game namin, simula na ulit ng good games.”