Tenorio embraces role as ‘decoy’ to sustain Ginebra momentum in semis series vs Star
Hounded by the Star defense, LA Tenorio finished with just seven points but added five assists, four rebounds, and one steal, and committed just one turnover. Jaime Campos

LA Tenorio doesn’t mind the attention he’s getting from the Star defense, believing it will only continue to allow his Barangay Ginebra teammates to get more open looks in the PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series against Star.

The Gin Kings star point guard continues to embrace his new 'decoy' role as the Gin Kings seek to tie the best-of-seven series at two games apiece with another win in Game Four on Wednesday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

The Gin Kings finally barged into the win column of the series with a 73-62 victory in Game Three where Tenorio continued to be the Hotshots’ main priority on defense, with Mark Barroca, Jio Jalalon, and Justin Melton taking turns and giving him different looks.

But with the 'Gineral' not forcing the issue, Sol Mercado and Japeth Aguilar stepped up to deliver for the Gin Kings especially down the stretch.

Asked if he feels fresher compared to the first two games in the series, Tenorio, who played 29 minutes in Game Three, agreed.

“Oo, alam naman kasi namin kung ano ang ginagawa nila sa amin ni Japeth eh, so I’m playing some sort of decoy,” Tenorio said. “I’m not really looking to (score).”

“Sometimes, syempre I’m forcing myself to be aggressive offensively, but most of the time, nagde-decoy talaga ako,” he added. “Kasi wala rin akong magagawa eh, maraming sumasalo (sa akin) eh… Good thing, mga teammates ko nandyan.”  

Tenorio finished with just seven points on 3-of-11 shooting, missing his two three-pointers, and scored just one point in the second half where Mercado, Aguilar, and Mark Caguioa took over.

“I’ll try my best to be a decoy,” Tenorio, who added five assists, four rebounds, and one steal, and committed just one turnover, said. “Tiwala naman ako sa kanila eh. They will step up talaga even our bench players. Sana magtuloy-tuloy yung kumpiyansa.”

But none of his teammates has taken more load off him than Joe Devance, who finally made his series debut and took some of the playmaking duties – apart from him being a defensive anchor in the paint.

“Malaking bagay talaga kasi marami siyang nagagawa eh,” Tenorio said of Devance. “I’m not talking about points lang, but nandun yung presence niya sa loob ng court. Iba siya as a leader eh. Malaking responsibility for me as a point guard pag nasa loob siya.”

“You can think of him as a point guard also,” he added. “Sana magtuloy-tuloy na na gumaling yung paa ni Joe.”


Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos