SMART CLARK GIGA CITY–After 14 long years as a pro, LA Tenorio finally completed his trophy cabinet after grabbing his first PBA Philippine Cup title.
And it came with a bonus of a fourth Finals MVP award for the battle-tested guard as Barangay Ginebra closed out TNT with an 82-78 victory in Game Five of the all-Filipino Finals on Wednesday night at the Angeles University Foundation Arena.
Now, only one feather is missing on Tenorio’s cap–a PBA grand slam which he believes he can win with no less than the two-time grand slam-winning coach Tim Cone.
It’s not only Tenorio who is yet to win the three conferences in a single season but the whole Ginebra franchise as well.
“Iniisip ko nga baka maka-grand slam din sana ‘yung Ginebra. ‘Yun ang naisip ko kasi ‘di ba every time na magha-handle siya (Cone) ng isang franchise, nagga-grand slam,” said the 36-year-old playmaker.
Tenorio, who has won six titles including five under Cone, never doubted the 62-year-old American tactician’s ability to turn a team into a championship caliber franchise.
The Kings have captured five crowns in five years since welcoming Cone, who himself stretched his league record to 23 titles.
“The moment na in-appoint si coach Tim sa amin, alam ko na mananalo kami ng championships ‘di lang isa. Alam ko kasi kung papaano siya mag-handle ng team chemistry-wise and the moment na iniba niya ‘yung culture ng Ginebra, ginawa niyang balansyado ‘yung team,” said Tenorio, who first played for Cone in Alaska.
With Tenorio turning 37 next year, the question of him getting a grand slam now lies on his capability to play at the same level he showed during the Finals where he posted averages of 13.6 points and 6.2 assists while displaying his veteran leadership.
Well, the six-time champion is not called the PBA’s “Ironman” for no reason.
“Kung tatanungin niyo ko what’s next? Lalaro pa rin ako,” said Tenorio, who was shocked to find out that he extended his streak to 663 games played during the bubble season.
“Sana grand slam naman. 36 now, next year 37. Bata pa.”