LA Tenorio shows nerves of steel for another superb endgame performance

LA Tenorio of Barangay Ginebra tries to score against Jay Washington and Roger Pogoy of TNT in Game 3 of the PBA Philippine Cup Finals on Sunday. (PBA Images)

SMART CLARK GIGA CITY--Eager to win and close in on the PBA Philippine Cup championship, LA Tenorio came to Barangay Ginebra's rescue in the Finals Game Four. 

Tenorio drained the much-needed baskets down the stretch as the Kings staved off the pesky TNT Tropang Giga, 98-88, and moved on the cusp of their first all-Filipino crown in 13 years on Sunday night. 

"Actually, last game pa ko gigil na gigil manalo. 'Yung last game gusto ko talagang makuha kaya lang syempre you cannot win them all," said the 36-year-old veteran guard, who topscored with 19 points in Ginebra's lopsided 88-67 loss in Game Three

"But the thing is, ngayon na nagkaroon ulit ako ng opportunity then I have to grab it na talaga." 

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Tenorio, who is eyeing to capture his first Philippine Cup title in his 14-year career so far, did not let the chance slip as he led the Kings anew with 22 points, none bigger than his clutch shots from beyond the arc.

As Pogoy hit back-to-back triples to push TNT back from an 18-point deficit to within 85-88 with 2:50 left in the game, Tenorio answered back with his own cold-blooded trey. 

The Gilas Pilipinas veteran negated another three-pointer from the younger national team standout with a triple of his own to maintain a six-point lead, 94-88, with 1:43 remaining. 

"I was actually open dalawang beses. Miss or make I have to take it as long as may chance and na-shoot naman," he said.   

Tenorio then sealed the deal through a baseline jumper with 55 seconds left following Scottie Thompson's breakaway layup. 

All in all, the five-time champion scored eight of Ginebra's last 10 points while also tallying six assists, three steals and two rebounds. 

The league's "Ironman", who played over 39 minutes, credited coach Tim Cone for giving him a quick respite to get the energy he needed to make his endgame heroics. 

"Malaking bagay yung paglabas sa'kin ni coach Tim. Nakapagpahinga ako nang mga 30 to 40 seconds," he said. 

"Again, it's an opportunity na binigay sa'kin. Masyado nilang dini-deny si Japeth (Aguilar) and Stanley (Pringle). Sa'kin naman ready lang ako palagi. Ganun lang naman ang mindset ko ngayon."