WITH Ginebra trailing 1-2 in the series, veteran guard LA Tenorio said the Gin Kings backcourt will have to rise to the challenge posed by San Mig's guards if they hope to get even on Wednesday.
Three games into the series, it is becoming more evident that San Mig’s scoring engine relies more on its backcourt led by vastly improved guard Mark Barroca, Peter June Simon, two-time league MVP James Yap and playoff revelation Justin Melton.
The 5-foot-10 Barroca, in fact, ran berserk in the second half of Game Three, banging in 15 of his team-high 25 points to help San Mig score a 97-89 victory and regain control of the series.
“Sila (Barroca and Co.) ang nagdadala ng game eh, especially towards the end of the game. So it’s a big challenge for us (Gin Kings backcourt). Sila ang nagko-control ng tempo,” Tenorio said, who appeared exhausted near the end of Game Three after playing 38 minutes while chasing Barroca on defense.
The stats show that 54 percent (44.6 points) of San Mig’s 82 points per game series average come from the offense generated by Barroca and Co.
On the other hand, Tenorio, Mark Caguioa, Eman Monfort and Jayjay Helterbrand churned out a combined scoring average of just 34 points during the first three games or 38.5 percent of Barangay Ginebra’s 88.3 points per game in the series.
The former Ateneo star playmaker said come Game Four, the Gin Kings will have to be the aggressor, something they did very well during Game Two that allowed Ginebra to score a runaway 93-64 win.
“We need to control the tempo. Nag-adjust kasi sila (Mixers) eh. Naunahan nila kami maging aggressive (in Game Three). Plus they did a good job din getting back on defense. That’s part of being aggressive and pag-hustle kaya yun din ang naging story ng game since two points lang kami sa fastbreak,” added the 29-year-old.
Tenorio believes that all is not lost for Ginebra considering that the team has enough time to catch up in the race-to-four-wins series.
“Ayaw naming maging down. Parati na lang kami naghahabol, so our goal is to be on the lead. Hindi yung naghahabol parati. The good thing about this is it’s a long series,” added Tenorio, who is averaging 13.3 points, 3.0 rebounds and 5.6 assists in the series.