LA Tenorio says Ginebra on survival mode, will take a win whichever way it can
Ginebra star LA Tenorio says they'll take a win - with or without TNT import Joshua Smith. Jerome Ascano

LA Tenorio doesn’t give a damn if Barangay Ginebra’s 125-101 win over TNT KaTropa on Thursday night could be tainted with a “what if” asterisk as the Texters played without an import in the second half of Game Three of their PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinal series.

The Gin Kings pounced on a Texters side that played all-Filipino after Joshua Smith went down with a mysterious foot injury midway through the second quarter, averting a sweep in the best-of-five series.

“Factor din na nawala siya the whole game, pero this game, we don’t care, kasi wala na kami eh,” Tenorio said after the game with a smile. “Wala na kaming chance if nagkamali kami this game – no room for error talaga kami from today’s game until our last game.”

[See Ginebra blows away TNT in Game 3 to stay alive in PBA playoffs]

Tenorio, who finished with eight points on 4-of-9 shooting, four assists, four rebounds, and only one turnover in 25 minutes as a starter, even believes that the Texters somehow played better against the Gin Kings without Smith.

“Sa tingin ko, mas positive pag all-Filipino talaga (sila) eh, although maraming nabibigay yung import,” Tenorio said. “Given naman eh, katulad ng sinasabi ni coach Tim, given naman talaga that he will get his numbers. Pero really, the all-Filipino, yung talaga yung fino-focus namin.”

“Hindi ko naman sinasabi na mas mahirap (silang talunin with their all-Filipino crew), pero yun yung tumatalo sa amin eh,” he added. “As much as we want to play versus their all-Filipino, parang syempre ‘di ba given naman na dapat pag may import kami against their all-Filipino, dapat mado-dominate namin sila.

“But the past two games, kami yung dino-dominate ng all-Filipino,” the veteran playmaker continued. “We give credit sa players nila; kino-cover up nila yung pagkawala ng import nila pag nasa bench. They’re really doing a good job of playing us the past two games.”

[See Jawo says he'll always be there for Ginebra]

In Game Three, the Gin Kings simplified things and stuck to what they do best.

“This game, ang focus namin is to really play our game, kasi nagkaroon kami ng mistake dati na porket may malaki silang import, we really have to tire them out – and that’s a mistake,” Tenorio said.

“So I think this game, we really parang sinimplehan lang namin, kung ano yung ginagawa naming tama for the past games, ginawa lang namin for today’s game," he added.


Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos