Tenorio, Ginebra expect long series against TNT

LA Tenorio of Barangay Ginebra dribbles the ball against Jayson Castro of TNT during Game 1 of the PBA Philippine Cup Finals. (PBA Images)

SMART CLARK GIGA CITY--LA Tenorio is taking it one step at a time in his mission to capture his first-ever PBA Philippine Cup title. 

Tenorio steered Barangay Ginebra to a 100-94 overtime victory over TNT in Game One of the best-of-seven finals last Sunday night at the AUF Arena. 

The tried and tested floor general dished out crucial assists in the closing stretch, starting with a sneaky dime to Arvin Tolentino who hit a layup to send the tightly-fought game to an extra period. 

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It was the same playmaking brilliance he displayed in the endgame as the 36-year-old guard issued the passes for Aljon Mariano to drain a hook shot and Japeth Aguilar to punctuate the win with a dunk. 

Tenorio, who finished with 10 assists to go with 12 points and five rebounds for the Kings, has been vocal of his desire to win an all-Filipino championship, but he knows it will not be easy against the loaded Tropang Giga. 

"Matagal pa 'yung three wins na 'yan. Parang aabot pa 'to sa dulo. Matagal pa 'yan especially against Talk N Text," he said. 

"We'll take it one game at a time. We'll get it (Game Two) on Wednesday then (Game Three) on Friday then we'll see. 'Yung Talk N Text hindi nila ibibigay sa'min 'yan." 

Tenorio has five rings in his 14-year stint so far but none of them include the league's crown jewel. He won four titles with the Justin Brownlee-backed Ginebra and one with the Diamon Simpson-led Alaska. 

The Nasugbu, Batangas native had four chances to snare a Philippine Cup trophy--one during his rookie season with San Miguel in 2007, two with Alaska in 2009 and 2010 and one with Ginebra in 2016. 

But the Gilas Pilipinas stalwart stressed that he's bent on winning the most coveted title not just for himself but also for the Kings, who last ruled an all-Filipino conference 13 years ago, ironically, at the expense of Tenorio and the Beermen. 

"I really want to get this championship not only for me but also for the organization," he said. "Para rin sa mga fans na ang tagal nang naghihintay ng all-Filipino for Ginebra."