LA Tenorio was so hyped upon drilling a big three-pointer in the midst of Barangay Ginebra’s signature NSD comeback against Bay Area late in Game Four of the 2022-23 PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals on Wednesday night.
For the decorated guard, it was a sigh of relief after missing his free three attempts from beyond the arc — a microcosm of the Kings’ shooting struggles practically the entire match that caused the crew to fall down by 14 in the third.
More than that, though, Tenorio believed that it would reignite the fire not just of the team but the majority of the 15,000 fans in attendance, which it definitely did as the crowd darlings went on to complete the comeback, 89-82.
“Parang nakahinga ako,” he said moments after the match at the Mall of Asia Arena. “Honestly, noong naka-shoot ako, I think… it will start something.
“Parang nabuhayan ‘yung crowd and that’s our advantage against Bay Area. I knew that it [would] start something,” added the 38-year-old.
Ginebra was already rallying during the final period but it wasn’t until Tenorio’s triple with 3:13 left that momentum completely shifted in their favor.
Mere moments after that shot cut the gap to a field goal, Justin Brownlee tied the game up at 79-all following a fadeaway jumper from the left elbow.
Then came Scottie Thompson. The reigning MVP came up with two important plays — first a cleanup for the lead, and then the dish to Jamie Malonzo for a three from the wing to push the lead to 84-79 with 50.4 seconds left.
Tenorio and Brownlee would go on to take the fire out of the Dragons through perfect trips to the line. The Kings ended the game with a 17-3 run.
“‘Yun nga ‘yung nangyari, nabuhayan ‘yung team,” said Tenorio, who finished with eight points and four rebounds. “Scottie made a big rebound, putback. Jamie hit the three-point shot. Si Justin, nakuha ‘yung rhythm niya.”
The Barangay now heads into Game Four with a 2-1 series lead but Tenorio refuses to get carried away by the victory, insisting on the need to find other ways to compete should the team misfire again the way they did Wednesday.
Ginebra shot just 34-percent from the floor and made only seven of their 26 attempts from three-point distance, easily their worst shooting in the series after making 50-percent and 38-percent in Games One and Two, respectively.
“Even though nanalo kami, marami kaming kailangang adjustment offensively and defensively,” said the 38-year-old, who went 2-of-8 from the floor.
“It might happen again that we struggle offensively so we should find ways to counter that — if mangyari ulit in the next game,” he added.
The second game of each PBA gameday is live-streamed on SMART Sports.