Barangay Ginebra coach Tim Cone admitted having mixed feelings upon seeing LA Tenorio on Wednesday during the team’s practice game against Tropang TNT at the CCF gym.
“I’m very sad for him (Tenorio), but I’m very happy for myself because on a very selfish standpoint, he got let go from the national team and be able to come back and get moving forward,” Cone told FOX Sports, shortly after Ginebra plastered Tropang TNT, 127-114 in a battle between 2 undermanned squads in a practice game at the CCF gym.
Cone said any player for that matter will feel the emotional and mental anguish.
“For him (Tenorio), it’s obviously a big blow because you work hard, travel and you do all these work and then at the very end, you don’t get to join the party,” he added.
The PBA’s all-time winning coach remembered agonizing over a coaching decision he made in 1998 when he handled the PBA-backed Philippine Centennial men’s basketball team for the Busan Asian Games.
At that time, Cone had to drop his former player Jeffrey Cariaso from the final 12, just days before the Philippines was to start playing in the Asian Games.
“That was very close to…because it devastated Jeffrey that I had to do that,” recalled Cone.
“It (dropping a player from the national team) was a really hard thing to do but the bottomline is you only got to take 12 guys, and somebody’s gotta to be not there,” he added.
“Maybe it would have been him (Tenorio), Ryan (Reyes) or Jayson (Castro) so you don’t know but somebody’s gotta have hurt feelings and feel bad about it and LA and Calvin will have to deal with it.”
Nonetheless, Cone expects the veteran Ginebra playmaker to be at his best after coming off high-level training at Gilas.
“Playing internationally, all players gain confidence when they play in the international (competition). That’s why I always encourage that if they can go and play there, they play there and they develop,” explained the 58-year-old Ginebra coach.
The 2-time PBA Grand Slam coach also expects Tenorio to integrate himself into the team smoothly by next week when Ginebra’s top playmaker goes full swing in practice.
The former Ateneo point guard will be reporting for practice on Thursday to get reacquainted again with the team’s play, before taking a 4-day break starting Friday. – By Richard Dy
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