LA Tenorio knows he’ll have his hands full defending Meralco’s bevy of young guards led by PBA Governors’ Cup Best Player candidate Chris Newsome and vastly improved sophomore playmaker Baser Amer in the upcoming Finals.
But the Ginebra veteran sentinel reiterated he is not afraid to face these young and talented backcourt players from Meralco, which also includes rookie Mike Tolomia and even gunner Garvo Lanete.
Tenorio noted that while his skills or talent may not be at par compared to Newsome, Amer or even Lanete, what he has is championship experience, which he hopes to use in the Finals starting this Friday in Lucena.
“Feeling ko I’m not as talented as Chris and Garvo and Baser but I think my advantage is my experience and thinking through the game,” Tenorio told media men, shortly after the PBA Finals press conference held at the Sambokojin Restaurant in Eastwood, Libis, Quezon City.
“I might not as athletic like Chris or shooter like Garvo or as skilled of a player like Baser, but even if I don’t score, well, I don’t score but as long as may nagagawa ako to lead my team to victory, my goal lang talaga is to help my teammates.”
The 7-time PBA All Star also appreciates the fact that he will only have to deal with Meralco’s guards one at a time on defense in the Finals.
“I know it’s gonna be a tough matchup but the good thing about this is di ko sila (Newsome and Co.) babantayan ng sabay sabay. So isa isa yan. Kung sino ang makaharap ko, either Baser, Chris Newsome, Mike Tolomia or Garvo, there’s a certain game plan and I just have to be smart and focused,” he explained.
In the just-concluded semifinal series of Ginebra and TNT, Tenorio, last year’s Governors’ Cup Finals MVP, showed why he’s the league’s top playmaker after engineering the Kings’ vicious fourth-quarter rally to put an emphatic end to the Katropa, 115-105 en route to winning the semis series, 3-1 and earning the right to face Meralco in the Finals.
The 33-year-old Tenorio peppered TNT with 25 points, spoked by 6 triples, along with 7 assists and 4 assists in the close-out game.
But he’s not one to rest on his laurels as Tenorio expects the best-of-7 PBA title series to be a tough, defensive battle, given the coaching style of Tim Cone and Meralco’s Norman Black.
In fact, Tenorio said foremost in the minds of Ginebra players is controlling the first game of the championship series.
“Yung napagusapan namin is (winning) Game 1 is really improptant. Kasi ikaw ang magdi-dictate ng series. Eh lahat ng series na napuntahan namin this conference, kami nanalo ng Game 1 gaya nung sa San Miguel and TNT, so importnate is sila naga-adjust for us, and if mananalo ng Game 2, adjust lang kami, so at least di kami ang naghahabol,” explained Tenorio.
Follow this writer on Twitter: @richava