Following Ginebra’s great escape in Game 3, veteran playmaker LA Tenorio believes closing out a powerhouse San Miguel side in their PBA Governors Cup best-of-five semifinal showdown will now be three times harder.
Tenorio pointed out that the Kings were fortunate to beat the Beermen behind Japeth Aguilar’s buzzer-beating shot. But he did admit that they struggled to play against San Miguel’s zone defense.
“I think we need to improve more, kasi successful yung San Miguel until the last play eh,” said Tenorio, whose team took a pivotal 2-1 series lead.
“They played 45 minutes of zone, so we really have to improve more.”
The Kings can close out the series and advance to the Finals for the first time in three years when they clash with the Beermen again in Game 4 on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. before an expected jam packed crowd at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Ginebra had to bleed for each point throughout the game, but a championship-experienced San Miguel always had an answer, and even led momentarily in the dying seconds on an Arwind Santos jumper.
Fortunately, the former Ateneo stalwart managed to stabilize the last play without even calling a timeout, leading to Aguilar’s game-winning shot as Ginebra fans erupted in frenzied celebration.
Tenorio, who flirted with a triple-double of 20 points, 10 rebounds, and nine assists, lauded his teammates for that last-play. But he also warned them to brace for a tooth-and-nail showdown in Game 4.
“Yun yung magde-determine kung talagang kaya namin to go to the next level. Hindi bibigay ng basta-basta yang San Miguel na yan,” he said.
“Hirap na hirap kami sa kanila and I’m sure mas mahirap next game. siguro tripleng hirap yun.”
But in what-could be their toughest game yet, Tenorio expects their legion of fans to back them up in their bid for a return trip to the Finals.
“We’re expecting a bigger crowd. Malaking tulong sa amin yun. Sixth man namin sila. Kailangan talaga sila.” – Jason Mercene
Follow this writer on Twitter: @JasonMercenePH