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LA Tenorio: Loss to Bolts, Scottie Thompson injury forced Kings to dig deep

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LA Tenorio: Loss to Bolts, Scottie Thompson injury forced Kings to dig deep

Japeth Aguilar (middle) of Barangay Ginebra gets struck down by the double team of Magnolia’s Ian Sangalang (left) and Calvin Abueva. —PHOTOS BY AUGUST DELA CRUZ

An embarrassing loss to a traditional victim and the continued absence of its ace playmaker, in a way, turned out fortuitous for Barangay Ginebra, according to its elder statesman LA Tenorio.

On the heels of an 87-77 triumph over Magnolia that had the club improving to 3-1 in the Philippine Cup, the veteran point guard said on Sunday night that the defeat at the hands of Meralco—a team Ginebra has beaten several times in championship battles—and Scottie Thompson’s persisting back problem has allowed the crowd darlings to truly recalibrate during the long break.

“What has happened to us, especially before the long break, made us realize that we have to really work harder to get back that tough form that we used to have,” he told the Inquirer on his way out of Smart Araneta Coliseum.

“In that [91-73 loss to] Meralco, we were exposed,” he added. “It’s a big blow that we don’t have Scottie (Thompson), too. But all that turned out to be an opportunity for us to get deeper into our lineup.”

LA Tenorio: Loss to Bolts, Scottie Thompson injury forced Kings to dig deep

Japeth Aguilar of Barangay Ginebra —PHOTOS BY AUGUST DELA CRUZ

Extended minutes

Sunday’s triumph saw role players Nards Pinto and Sidney Onwubere playing extended minutes. The pair combined for 11 points, while the 39-year-old Tenorio, chipped in five to aid Ginebra’s starters.

“It’s nice to see Nards and Sidney playing that much this early as that would ready them for the big games and for the playoffs,” Tenorio said. “Don’t get me wrong, we miss Scottie, but it’s nice seeing everyone step up.” That collective outing, which had Ginebra in control throughout the second half, was made possible by the work the team put in even when a big chunk of its players were away for the All-Star Weekend.

“We had a long break to adjust, get back to basics and regain our identity, which is playing a team game. and it was obvious tonight. We had 16 (assists) when the last time, we only had 11 assists,” Tenorio said.

“Coach Olsen (Racela), coach Richard (Del Rosario), coach Kirk (Collier) kept us going,” he added of the practices that took place during Holy Wednesday, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. “And I think that’s what’s nice about this team. Everybody here knows how to be committed [to a cause],” he added. INQ



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