With Joe Devance out with a plantar fasciitis injury, LA Tenorio knew that Ginebra’s resolve will be tested in its win-or-go home duel against Alaska on Tuesday.
“I wanted to be aggressive. I expected everyone to step up,” he said.
Much to Tenorio’s delight, the Gin Kings picked up the slack and pulled off a 108-97 victory over the Aces to advance to the 2017 PBA Philippine Cup semifinals.
“I have to give credit my teammates especially Aljon (Mariano), Dave (Marcelo), Kevin (Ferrer), and Jervy (Cruz). They really played well. This is a character game for us because every time we lose a player, someone is stepping up. Not just one, but the whole team is stepping up,” he said.
Tenorio also lived up to his words as he scattered a career-high-tying 31 points, three assists, and two rebounds in the win.
Though he struggled to get going early—scoring only two points in the first quarter—Tenorio’s relentless approach rubbed off on his teammates, especially their young guns, as the Kings recovered from a seven-point hole.
“I came out flat again, but I really had to be more aggressive so our defense and offense will follow suit,” he said.
With the challenge of Alaska now over, Tenorio and the rest of the Gin Kings brace for a tough seven-game series against Star.
“They’re really playing well. They’re the hottest team aside from San Miguel, so we really have to be more focused on our game plan against them,” he said. “Their guards are playing well. Their bigs are also playing well. Hopefully, we can bring the same kind of game in the semifinals.”
The best-of-7 series begins on Thursday.