LA Tenorio finally exorcises Alaska jinx with big game 'reminiscent of Ateneo days'
 “Wow, that’s the old Ateneo LA who scored 40 in a championship game,” Ginebra coach Tim Cone raves about his point guard LA Tenorio. Jaime Campos

IT was the best game LA Tenorio had in the PBA in a long while. And he found it more gratifying to come in a game against former team Alaska.

Not that he has anything against his former team, but somehow there’s something about the franchise that Tenorio said always makes him struggle against his former ballclub.

“Lagi akong nahihirapan pag Alaska. Hindi ko alam kung bakit,” Tenorio said moments after Barangay Ginebra slammed the playoff door on Alaska, 109-104, in the PBA Governors Cup on Friday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

“Siguro dahil kilalang-kilala ako ng mga players dun sa Alaska.”

Tenorio topscored for the Kings with 32 points on 12 of 22 shooting from the field, including 5 of 9 from three-point range. He added four rebounds and six assists in helping the league’s most popular ballclub reach the semifinals for the first time since the 2014 Philippine Cup.

[See Cone sees San Miguel - not TNT - as team to beat as PBA race narrows down to four]

The veteran point guard said it was his mindset to go aggressive against their sixth seeded opponent.

“I want to play aggressive offensively, kasi gusto kong makita ano ang gagawin nila sa akin,” said Tenorio, who already had 21 points in the first half alone and 30 at the end of the third period, when the Kings erected the game’s biggest lead at 74-48.

Tenorio said he has long been gone from Alaska that there was hardly any emotions meeting his former ballcub in a game of this magnitude.

Yet despite the way he played, Tenorio admitted being uncertain playing the same team that has beaten the Kings the last time they were in the finals.

“Hindi naman (emotional), pero parang kontra pelo lang talaga kami sa Alaska,” he said. “Hindi naman sa parang may doubt, pero before the game, iniisip na namin na mahirap itong gagawin namin.”


Yet there was Tenorio, orchestrating Ginebra’s plays and shooting the lights out at the Big Dome to give Ginebra the extra cushion it needed to withstand a strong fourth quarter comeback by the Aces.

So much so that Cone heaped praises on his long-time playmaker dating back to their Alaska days.   

“LA was amazing. I don’t know how to explain it, but in the first three quarters, he was amazing,” said the league’s most accomplished coach of all-time. “Wow, that’s the old Ateneo LA who scored 40 in a championship game.”

For all his heroics, Tenorio would show his mortal side after the game.

“Nakakapagod din a,” he said with a laugh while munching an energy bar.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @gerardmos