CHICAGO - At age 37, L.A. Tenorio still has some gas left in the tank. He's a threat as long as he is alive.
But it might not be a bad idea for Ginebra to start looking for the next point guard of the future.
Stomped by powerhouse TNT, 88-67, this afternoon, Tenorio couldn't find the bottom of the rim in a forgettable performance where he laid an egg and missed all 13 of his field goals, including seven from 3.
If he brought his big bike with him to Bacolor, Pampanga, Tenorio would've probably driven it to a far away place to hide. He chose a bad time, his tean 3-4 in the standings before tip-off, to be miserable.
With five rebounds and five assists, Tinyente couldn't be accused of abandoning the troops, but with zero points and three turnovers in 37 minutes and 36 seconds of playing time there was obviously some dereliction of duty.
Based on his previous play in this conference - 51 percent shooting from the field and 44 percent from long distance in his first seven games per the official PBA website - Tenorio will likely get his mojo back.
But Ginebra has a bigger problem.
Why the hell are they 3-5?
I get it, the geometry of their dreaded triangle offense is a little misaligned with newcomer Christian Stanhardinger trying to figure out meshing with new teammates and a different playbook.
I also understand that Prince Caperal hasn't exactly been royal and has in fact regressed from Talk of Town last conference to yesterday's news. He had 2 points in 8:13 of play today.
BUT AREN'T ALL THESE FLAWS CORRECTABLE AND ISN'T EIGHT GAMES ENOUGH TO RECTIFY WHATEVER THE HECK IS WRONG?
My peers in the media, including myself are fond of coach Tim Cone and are quick to heap him praises for his cunning and sideline brilliance.
I don't know what's up - pandemic blues, semi isolation, etc - but this clearly isn't Cone's best job.
Even with Tenorio's struggles and the obvious lack of a natural point guard to nurse the offense when L.A. takes a blow, Ginbera still has a dominant Japeth Aguilar, a wunderkind in Stanley Pringle and a pesky Scottie Tompson in the line-up.
Coach Cone has 23 titles and two grand slam feats to his name. I don't care. Coaches, like athletes, are judged based on what they've done lately.
Right now, Cone is behind the wheel of a 3-5 wreck.
Gravitas can only take you so far. Ginebra fans want their gravy now.
The Gin Kings are better than their eyesore of a record.
The 95-90 loss to inferior Terrafirma last September 3 showed a stunning lack of urgency and preparation. Those miscues fall squarely on the lap of Cone and his assistants.
Ginebra was sloppy today with 21 turnovers and they couldn't figure out streak shooter Mikey Williams, who erupted for 27 points on 6-for-11 shooting from deep. That's on the coaching staff, too.
In this battle, at least, coach Chot Reyes of Tropang Giga proved to be better prepared and more exceptionally strategic than the mysteriously melting Cone.
I still think this 2021 Philippine Cup title is San Miguel Beer's to lose but, man, Reyes and those Giga will make a lot of fireworks on the way to a second-place finish.
But if you're the PBA, you must be rooting for Ginebra to accelerate a deep run because without the most popular team in the mix, there are a lot less eyes on the TV sets.
Loosen the tie and roll up the sleeves, coach Tim, there's a long battle ahead and the Ginebra faithful are rooting for you.
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