GINEBRA sparkplug LA Tenorio admitted having sleepless nights after former team Alaska made it to the finals of the PBA Commissioner's Cup.
Added pressure? You bet.
“Nung nalaman ko na nanalo sila, nadagdagan ng pressure sa akin. Na-pressure ako,” said Tenorio, who until his move to Ginebra at the start of the season had been the heart and soul of the Alaska franchise.
“Maraming pumasok sa utak ko."
The Jones Cup MVP had endured a miserable final season with Alaska as the Uytengsu organization hit new lows while going through the transition from longtime coach Tim Cone to, first, Joel Banal, and later Luigi Trillo.
Seeing Alaska turn things around and reach the finals, Tenorio knew what he will hear from fans.
“Ang naisip ko talaga, marami na namang tao ang magsasabi na ang Alaska pumasok sa finals tapos ako baka hindi,” added Tenorio, who admitted barely sleeping on the eve of Ginebra's do-or-die Game Five match-up with Talk n’ Text.
Tenorio, however, turned the added pressure into extra motivation for Game Five, where he fired 28 points and provided the inspiration in a 111-103 victory that brought Ginebra to its first finals appearance in two years.
“Ginawa ko na lang yun na motivation - na andun na sila (Alaska) sa finals. Kailangang ako, kami sa Ginebra kailangan ring pumasok,” said the former Ateneo King Eagle.
Now it's LA and Ginebra on one side and his former team Alaska on the other in what promises to be one of the most exciting championship series in years.
Tenorio considers Ginebra as the underdog anew in the shortened best-of-five finals.
“Hindi pa kami nananalo sa Alaska ngayong conference, so hopefully, matulad naman kami sa nangyari sa kanila against San Mig, na nitong semis lang nila tinalo,” said the 28-year-old pride of Nasugbu, Batangas.
“Kaya 'yun lang ang isisipin namin going to this finals, na kung tinalo nga nila ang dating hindi nila tinatalo. Palagi kaming kontrapelo sa kanila so this time di na kami papayag ng ganun.”