LA Tenorio could leave the bubble not only with his first PBA Philippine Cup title but also another Finals Most Valuable Player award he could proudly display at home.
The Barangay Ginebra San Miguel floor general’s steady play against TNT has put him in consideration to capture the best player honors in the championship, provided he and the rest of the team can claim the Jun Bernardino Perpetual Trophy on Wednesday.
Tenorio is averaging 14.5 points on 49-percent shooting with 6.3 assists and 1.5 steals through the first four games of the Finals inside the Smart Clark Giga City bubble.
But more than the numbers, Tenorio has been making the big plays when it mattered, putting Ginebra in a position to capture a 13th PBA crown.
His assists late in regulation and overtime gave Ginebra a 100-94 overtime win over TNT in Game 1, and his two long bombs down the stretch secured the Kings’ pivotal 98-88 victory that put the Tropang Giga down 3-1 in the series.
Another sterling performance may be enough for the PBA Press Corps to hand the award to Tenorio, who has won it three times in his career.
Tenorio was adjudged Finals MVP during his first three titles in the league, first with Alaska in the 2010 Fiesta Conference when he shared the honors with Cyrus Baguio, followed by a pair of plaques in Ginebra’s wins in the 2016 and 2017 Governors’ Cup.
Ginebra’s next two titles were won by Scottie Thompson (2018 Commissioner’s Cup) and Japeth Aguilar (2019 Governors’ Cup).
Another Finals MVP will enable Tenorio to tie Danny Seigle and James Yap for most all-time.
Tenorio’s bid could be challenged by Stanley Pringle, who is also one of the reasons why Ginebra won three of the first four games of the Finals.
Pringle led Ginebra in scoring at 21.3 points despite a 39.7-percent clip aside from having 4.8 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.8 steals per game.
Considered long shots are Thompson and Aguilar, who are also causing plenty of problems for TNT.
Thompson, whose signature moment of the Finals was a go-ahead three in Game 2, produced 9.3 points, 9.0 rebounds and 5.5 assists while Aguilar posted 17.0 points, 9.8 rebounds and 1.3 blocks.