Barangay Ginebra forward Joe Devance said the Kings had mixed feelings upon learning that veteran playmaker LA Tenorio was 1 of 2 players, who failed to make the Gilas Pilipinas final 12 on Sunday.
“Yeah, we feel bad for LA, but he did what he had to for the country. We’re proud of him,” Devance told FOX Sports after the team’s practice on Monday.
Tenorio, along with Alaska’s energetic wingman Calvin Abueva failed to make the Gilas cut as coach Tab Baldwin opted to go for a taller roster, heading into next week’s FIBA Olympic Qualifying tournament in Manila.
The taller roster saw Tropang TNT rookie forward Troy Rosario, who stands at 6-6, earn a spot in the veteran-laden Gilas squad, along with Texas Legends forward Bobby Ray Parks.
The 6-foot-7 Fil-American explained that Tenorio may be one of the shortest in the national poo, but no one can question his heart and leadership inside and outside the court.
“We all know he plays his heart out. He’s one of the smartest guys in the team and have the biggest heart,” said the 34-year-old Devance.
“He’s one of the leaders of the team.”
Devance said knowing Tenorio, who was his teammate at Alaska when they won the 2010 Fiesta Conference, he expects Ginebra’s court general to play with extra motivation come the Governors Cup.
“We know he’s good enough to play on the team but just the fact he didn’t make it (in the Gilas final 12) is extra motivation already,” noted Devance. “Hopefully, we can make the finals and see what happens.”
The 5-foot-9 Tenorio averaged 6.2 points, 1.6 rebounds and 1.2 assists for Gilas in the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Seville, Spain.
Gilas, which closed out its pocket tournament in Italy with a narrow 72-69 win over Asian champion China, is scheduled to fly back to Manila on Tuesday following its 3-week training in Europe. – By Richard Dy
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