Oftentimes criticized by some hoop fans due to his inconsistent performances the past few conferences, veteran point guard LA Tenorio is out to prove that his groove is back in the ongoing PBA Oppo Commissioner’s Cup.
For head coach Tim Cone, Tenorio’s rejuvenated offense is something he expected to happen sooner than later, being one of the players who understand his triangle trademark way back in their Alaska days.
Tenorio went on a tear against Blackwater on Sunday, providing solid shooting and playmaking for the Kings as he wound up with 20 points on 50% success rate and racking up 8 assists in their 4th win in 7 outings.
“He’s very comfortable in the triangle, he’s got a comfort zone there, he had been successful when he ran it with Alaska,” said Cone of Tenorio, who went to receive his 2nd best player of the game award this conference.
But even if Tenorio got reunited with the coach that helped him develop in his early years in the PBA, the 10-year veteran took time rekindling with the system before currently reaping the rewards.
“In the beginning he is kinda struggling with it (triangle), when we first started bringing it in, until he rediscovered his rhythm,” said the multi-titled mentor.
Slowly gaining his offense and confidence back, the 5-foot-7 floor general out of Nasugbu, Batangas once again flourished under the triangle system while guiding Ginebra to crucial victories.
“He (Tenorio) doesn’t need to be guilty about ‘Am I giving this to my teammate, or am I shooting this too much’,” explained Cone. “In the triangle everyone has an equal opportunity, when you’re open, you shoot it.”
Although overshadowed by Ginebra’s twin towers of Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar in terms of local points production, the Gilas mainstay started picking up his scoring touch in their last 3 games, averaging 12 markers where the crowd-favorite squad went 2-1 in that stretch.
With the skillset and basketball IQ Tenorio can offer to the table, Cone believes that he resembles his past student and one of the best point guards of all-time, Johnny “The Flying A” Abarrientos, in thriving with the role in his system.
“Very similar on how Johnny Abarrientos was, Johnny was a great scorer also, he can use his off-guard and point guard skills to the max with the triangle,” described the 2-time Grand Slam coach.
Cone also credited Tenorio’s tenacity in the defensive end that catapults the Gin Kings in maximizing their height advantage.
“He is a guy who is feisty, he doesn’t back down from people, we kinda play off that kind of personality,” he said. “So when is out there in front of our defense, really getting at people, it pumps everybody up.”
Now that the confidence is back, the ‘Tinyente’ will be busy backstopping the Twin Towers and import Othyus Jeffers this conference to finally get that the elusive championship for Ginebra.
“He is certainly one of the leaders, if not the leader on the team,” confirmed Cone. – By Jason Mercene
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