PBA: Cone had no doubt Tenorio would bounce back after scoreless outing

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 16 2021 01:59 PM

LA Tenorio (5) sparked Barangay Ginebra's comeback against Phoenix Super LPG. PBA Media Bureau
LA Tenorio (5) sparked Barangay Ginebra's comeback against Phoenix Super LPG. PBA Media Bureau

MANILA, Philippines -- Barangay Ginebra coach Tim Cone felt no reason to worry after veteran point guard LA Tenorio labored to a scoreless performance against the TNT Tropang GIGA on Sunday.

Against the stout TNT defense, Tenorio missed all 13 of his field goals, including seven attempts from beyond the arc. He went scoreless in 37 minutes, although he did contribute five assists and five rebounds.

Still, his subpar outing was one reason that Ginebra slumped to an 88-67 defeat, their second straight loss at the time.

"I've read a couple of articles in which they bashed LA a little bit for being 0-for-13," said Cone on Wednesday night. "You know, great players don't play great every night. They don't. But they are usually consistent, but they don't play great every night."

Tenorio made up for that clunker with a superb performance against Phoenix Super LPG, where he put up 23 points on 7-of-16 shooting, along with four rebounds and five dimes. He was 6-of-11 from long range, and his three-point shooting helped Ginebra recover from a 19-point deficit and take a 94-87 win against the Fuel Masters.

For Cone, Tenorio's bounce-back performance was no surprise, especially as the veteran playmaker has the same kind of mindset as their celebrated import, Justin Brownlee.

"Justin would have some real bad games, and some what I call clunkers, where he would come out and not be able to make a shot and the defenses were able to really contain him," Cone recalled. "Then he would start to force things and he would miss a lot of shots and we ended up losing."

"And I always thought if that was the only game you watched Justin play, then you would have sent him home because he looked terrible that night. You would have changed him," he added. 

"But you know, he has such a great history. And the thing about Justin, the next game was a guarantee -- he would go out and play great," he added.

The 37-year-old Tenorio, a six-time PBA champion, has the same kind of mentality, said Cone. Whenever he has a "really bad night," Tenorio would be sure to turn it around in their next game.

"I was not worried at all," Cone said. "I knew he was gonna have a great night tonight, and he did."

"He was the one who brought us back with his three-point shooting. He was awesome, and not just in terms of shooting, but in terms of leadership. I was really impressed with LA tonight," the coach added.

Stanley Pringle, who paced Ginebra with 31 points, said the Gin Kings also kept their faith in Tenorio despite his struggles against TNT.

"He's our captain, he's a veteran, one who gives us all advice. Everybody's gonna struggle, I've been struggling, you know everybody has their times," Pringle pointed out. "(The) most important (thing) now, we're gonna keep supporting each other, doesn't matter. This is a team. You know, one team."

Ginebra's win against Phoenix Super LPG fanned their playoff hopes in the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup, as they now have a 4-5 win-loss record that elevated them to a share of seventh place with the NLEX Road Warriors.

The Gin Kings are back in action on Friday against the Alaska Aces.