While his chances of making the final 12 seemed to have enhanced with Paul Lee dropping out of the Gilas national pool due to injury, LA Tenorio made it clear that he wasn’t competing for spot with the Rain or Shine combo guard.
“Definitely sa pagkawala ni Paul Lee, it’s not me who will fill in that position kasi iba naman ang laro ni Paul Lee compared sa akin. Ang layo,” Tenorio told FOX Sports, just moments after Lee informed Gilas coach Tab Baldwin that he’s pulling out of the pool due to a nagging left knee injury on Tuesday.
Tenorio said the dynamics on the floor is different every time Lee is on the floor.
Teammate-wise, kahit saan, puwede mo siya (Lee) dalhin. Susunod siya kahit pagsabihan mo siya at kahit sobrang talented siya, nakikinig siya,” said Tenorio, who played with Lee during Gilas’ stints in the FIBA Asia Cup and the FIBA World Cup in 2014.
While Jayson Castro, voted as the Best Guard in Asia the last 2 FIBA Asia stagings, seemed to have the inside lock for a spot in the final 12, the point guard spot remains a wide-open race among Terrence Romeo, Tenorio and even returning Gilas pool member Ryan Reyes as well as amateur standout Kiefer Ravena.
The 5-foot-10 Romeo has shown what he can do in the international arena with his ability to slash to the basket during his 2015 stint with Gilas.
On the other hand, Reyes, a veteran Tropang TNT guard, is capable of knocking down threes and is a noted lock-down defender.
But Tenorio insists that his role is completely different from the other guards in the pool.
“Siguro, leadership, iyan ang mabibigay ko sa team,” said the 31-year-old Ginebra playmaker.
“Thats’s been my role ever since (the time of former Gilas) coach Chot, to be the leader inside the court.”
The 5-foot-9 Tenorio said the time he spent in 2013 and 2014 with former Gilas team captain Jimmy Alapag gave him a lot of insight on how to lead the team in the international competitions.
“Good thing is alongside with Jimmy, marami rin ako natutunan sa kanya. And now, that’s my challenge to myself, to be the leader and extension of coach on the playing court kasi iyun lang ang nagiging advantage ko sa ibang mga guwardya,” he said.
“I can manage the 5 players on the court pero ang ang gusto ko lang is makikinig sila and the good thing is the players here (in the national pool) are willing to learn dahil we have one goal kasi.” – By Richard Dy
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