It was a lesson learned the hard way for LA Tenorio and Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, that allowing the opposition to garner confidence would only give them problems.
The veteran floor general was left to realize that after NorthPort made a second quarter surge, then eventually pulled away. The Batang Pier ended up winning by 34 big points, 124-90, for a 1-0 series lead.
“Ganda ng shooting nila. We didn’t expect na they would come out with that kind of fire. Parang relaxed kami masyado. ‘Di namin inexpect na they will come really hard at us,” he said.
“We started flat and then from there, we gave them confidence na andun naman talaga sa kanila.”
The Batang Pier shot the ball well from the field on a 46.5-percent clip, including 19-of-40 shooting from beyond the arc — with 11 threes from Michael Qualls and Garvo Lanete.
“Every shot na tinira nila, they made it. Kahit saang position, nakaka-shoot sila,” Tenorio said.
Fatigue could have played a factor in the loss, since Tenorio, Japeth Aguilar, Stanley Pringle, Greg Slaughter, and coach Tim Cone are fresh off the 30th SEA Games.
Tenorio argued otherwise, though. For him, it wasn’t just the Gilas guys who didn’t have a good game — well, except for Pringle who had 21 points — but rather all of the Barangay.
“Hindi naman siya pagod. Siguro it’s really more on mental din kasi to shift right away for the semis. Ano naman, we’re professionals, I don’t think that’s a problem for us,” he said.
“Siguro lang talaga ngayon, hindi lang naman kaming nag-Gilas ang medyo masama ang nilaro rin dito. Even the shooting of Justin (Brownlee), I think it’s not there. Even the other players also.
“Everyone who played ngayon medyo flat, tsaka parang ‘yung fire wala pa doon,” added the 35-year-old.
Regarding that ‘fire’, Tenorio said that he and the others who played for Gilas Pilipinas in the Games should be the ones providing that in Game Two on Monday, December 16
“The players who played in the SEA Games, I think we have to start the fire sa team namin,” said the four-time PBA champion.
“Ayun ‘yung kailangan naming gawin for the next game. We should be the one to start the fire sa team namin para mabuhat o madala ‘yung buong team.”