MANILA, Philippines – Ginebra point guard LA Tenorio gave full credit to his teammates after they won the 2016 PBA Governors' Cup championship – the team's first PBA crown in eight years.
Tenorio earned Finals MVP honors after averaging 17.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 4.2 assists per game in the best-of-seven series.
Though other players had their shining moments – notably import Justin Brownlee, rookie Scottie Thompson, and the "Fast and Furious" pair of Mark Caguioa and Jayjay Helterbrand – there was no doubt that Tenorio was the most consistent player for the team, and a stabilizing factor for the Gin Kings.
In Game 6, after going down 32-45 at the half, Tenorio carried Ginebra on his shoulders in the third quarter, sparking the Gin Kings' comeback. He scored 21 of his 25 points in the second half, while also adding five rebounds and six assists.
With Tenorio setting the tone, Ginebra was able to turn what was once a 13-point deficit into a one-possession game, and Brownlee capped their rally with a three-pointer at the buzzer for a 91-88 come-from-behind win.
"Everyone deserved to be MVP," said Tenorio, who won his first title with Ginebra and the second of his career. "It could be Jayjay or Mark."
For Tenorio, "The Fast and the Furious" were the reasons that Ginebra managed to reach Game 6 in the first place, as their inspirational performance in Game 4 turned the Finals series in their favor.
"'Yun 'yung nagbigay ng momentum sa amin sa series. That's how the team works now," he explained. "Every game, hindi isang player lang. Itong game na ito, naging outstanding ang laro ko dahil nagshu-shoot 'yung mga tira ko eh."
"[It was] with the help of my teammates. Hinahanap talaga nila ako. I took the challenge," he added.
All throughout the conference, Tenorio had touted the unpredictable, equal opportunity nature of his team's offense, and his teammates' ability to step up at any given moment. He has been vocal about his trust for his teammates, and so on Wednesday night, he had no doubt that Brownlee was going to make the game-winner.
"Pag-release pa lang niya, nagdadasal ako na sana pumasok. Pero the last two possessions, [na-shoot] kasi niya, so I'm very confident na mashu-shoot niya," he said.
"With the help of the Lord na din siguro – gusto ibigay sa amin talaga ito, kaya binigay kay Justin 'yung shot na 'yun," he added.
With another championship and another Finals MVP trophy under his belt, Tenorio can now focus on another important role: that of being a husband and a father.
His two children were with him on the floor on Wednesday night as they celebrated, but afterwards he rushed to the hospital to be at his wife's side as she is set to give birth to their third child soon.
"Nasa isip ko talaga na I don't want to play a Game 7," said Tenorio. "Naisip ko talaga 'yung baby ko na lalabas bukas (Thursday) eh. Ayoko isipin na 'yun. Kung magkaroon ng Game 7, iisipin ko pa 'yun – my wife is in the hospital, my baby is in the hospital."
"'Yun talaga 'yung motivation sa akin. Ginawa ko ang best ko for us to win, and maganda rin na nag-respond ang teammates ko. Everyone contributed sa run na 'yun," he added.
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