LA Tenorio exploded with a career-high 34 points as he powered Barangay Ginebra to a rousing 98-85 victory over the Meralco Bolts in the PBA Governors Cup on Saturday at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City.
The 5-foot-9 Tenorio was at his best in the second half, exploding for 16 points in a pivotal Gin Kings run to turn a three-point halftime deficit into a 76-64 bubble late in the third canto.
From there, the Gin Kings maintained their relentless running game in the final period on the way to clinching their first win this conference. Ginebra opened the tournament last week with a 95-101 loss to sister team Petron.
“Isa lang naman nasa mind namin ngayong game, we need to get our first win kasi mahirap na maghabol this conference since maiksi lang ang conference,” Tenorio said after the game.
Tenorio, who is coming off an impressive stint with Gilas Pilipinas in the recent Fiba-Asia men’s championships, also had seven rebounds, seven assists, and a perfect 5-of-5 from three-point range in 35 minutes of play.
The previous PBA career-high of the former Ateneo star guard was 33 points, ironically also against Meralco, while still playing for Alaska in a 104-101 win in the 2011 Commissioner's Cup eliminations.
“Very aggressive si LA, though lahat naman aggressive,” said Ato Agustin, who finally nailed his first win as Ginebra’s new coach, succeeding Alfrancis Chua.
Agustin said defense kicked off Ginebra’s impressive double-digit win in the game as the league’s most popular ball club held down Meralco to just 37.5 percent shooting from the field (33-of-88).
Import Dior Lowhorn added 17 points and 15 boards for the Gin Kings, while Mark Caguioa added 15 points, four rebounds, and six assists.
Newly-acquired big man Japeth Aguilar made his presence felt, too, finishing with 13 points, seven rebounds, and four shot blocks.
Ginebra (98) -- Tenorio 34, Lowhorn 17, Caguioa 15, Aguilar 13, Ellis 9, Helterbrand 6, Urbiztondo 4, Baracael 0, Maierhofer 0, Wilson 0, Mamaril 0.
Meralco (85) -- West 21, Wilson 17, Hodge 16, Hugnatan 10, Ross 6, Timberlake 6, Salvacion 5, Mangahas 2, Reyes 2, Baclao 0, Guevarra 0.
Quarterscores: 28-19; 43-44; 76-69; 98-85.