PBA: 'LA being LA' is reason why Ginebra is in the semis
Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Jul 11, 2018 08:14 PM
LA Tenorio piled onto his already overflowing clutch credentials to oust new-age rival Meralco (FILE PHOTO)
Already having figured in two Finals series that went the full seven-game distance, Ginebra and Meralco were once again pitted against one another in the 2018 PBA Commissioner’s Cup Quarterfinals.
The Bolts registered a record of 7-4 in the elimination round and claimed the fourth-seed while the Gin Kings weren’t that far behind with a 6-5 standing and clinched the fifth-seed.
Safe to say, just like their meetings in the last two championship rounds of the Governor’s Cup, not much separated the two teams.
Ginebra floor leader LA Tenorio had to admit as much. “Talagang we expected that this series is not going to be easy especially against Meralco,” he told reporters on Wednesday.
Indeed, Tenorio and company lost an 18-point lead early in the final frame and saw their new-age rivals come as close as 81-87 inside the last five minutes of the second game of their best-of-three quarterfinals series.
Justin Brownlee and Tenorio connived for the answer for the crowd darlings, though, as Brownlee’s assist to a Tenorio triple followed by a Tenorio dish to a Brownlee dunk re-established the double-digit lead they would protect for the remainder of the game.
“When they were making that run, LA made the shot in the corner for three and got the steal to toss it back to Justin for the dunk,” a much more gleeful than usual head coach Tim Cone said post-game. “That was the game for me.”
That is exactly why, for the nth time, the multi-titled mentor had nothing but high praise for his court general. “(That’s) LA just being LA. He’s such a big moment guy and that was a big moment shot,” he said.
For his part, though, Tenorio said he was just doing his job. As he put it, “Siguro, pamatay-sunog lang talaga after their big run. Sa akin, sana nga ‘di na umabot sa ganun e.”
He then continued, “Pero actually, to be honest, during the game, ‘di ako kumportable e kasi alam kong babalik sila. They did.”
Yes, the Bolts did battle back, but at the same time, Tenorio was there to meet them and turn them back.
And in the end, the Gin Kings swept the series up against their new-day rivals.
The player who made it happen is only hoping that, unlike their previous conquests of Meralco, this is not yet the end for Ginebra. “We still have best-of-five semis na lalaruin and hopefully, we still have Finals to play. Hopefully, ang peak talaga namin is more pa,” he shared.
He then continued, “Medyo nagka-climb pa kami (ngayon) ang hopefully, makuha namin in the right timing.”
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