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PBA: Ginebra eyes encore

Ginebra’s LA Tenonio celebrates a huge basket in the team’s 85-74 win over the Meralco Bolts last Sunday to go up 3-2 in their Governors’ Cup Finals at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan. (MB photo | Rio Deluvio)
Ginebra’s LA Tenonio celebrates a huge basket in the team’s 85-74 win over the Meralco Bolts last Sunday to go up 3-2 in their Governors’ Cup Finals at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan. (MB photo | Rio Deluvio)

By JONAS TERRADO

BOCAUE, Bulacan – Aggressiveness was one of the words that came out in the mouths of both Greg Slaughter and LA Tenorio, a fitting description to their Game 5 performance Sunday that put Barangay Ginebra San Miguel on the cusp of another PBA Governors’ Cup crown.

Slaughter made sure he won’t waste his first start in the finals and delivered 17 points, 16 rebounds and six blocks after so-so outings for most of the series while Tenorio likewise produced 17 points following a scoreless showing in Game 4.

Ginebra’s LA Tenonio celebrates a huge basket in the team’s 85-74 win over the Meralco Bolts last Sunday to go up 3-2 in their Governors’ Cup Finals at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan. (MB photo | Rio Deluvio)
Ginebra’s LA Tenonio celebrates a huge basket in the team’s 85-74 win over the Meralco Bolts last Sunday to go up 3-2 in their Governors’ Cup Finals at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan. (MB photo | Rio Deluvio)
Ginebra, which came out with an 85-74 victory over Meralco in front of a Finals record 36,445 fans at the Philippine Arena here, needs just one win to repeat as champions of the season-ending conference. The Kings and the loyal followers can only hope that Slaughter and Tenorio pull a repeat performance in tomorrow’s potential title clincher at the same venue.

“This is a crucial one for us, just fortunate that we got the win but the job is not done yet. We need to get one more,” said Slaughter, who accounted for half of the 10-1 run that enabled Ginebra to turn the game into a rout after a slim 74-70 lead with over six minutes remaining.

“What we did (in Game 5) is not enough for the next game. For sure, (Meralco is) going to adjust, so we just have to double our effort if we want to close out the series,” Tenorio said.

The 7-foot Slaughter had come off the bench in the first four games of the finals, with Japeth Aguilar getting the starting nod. Slaughter eventually had been a forgotten man during crucial stretches of Games 3 and 4 which Meralco both won to tie the series.

Ginebra coach Tim Cone decided to give Slaughter the start, and the player nicknamed “Gregzilla” didn’t disappoint.

He asserted himself in the shaded lane throughout the contest, then played a role in limiting Meralco import Allen Durham to just three points in the fourth quarter while scoring key baskets that led to the Ginebra breakaway.

“Definitely when you start, you gotta set the tone early,” Slaughter said. “Not just me but the whole starting unit, we came out really aggressive, got off to a good lead. Unfortunately we weren’t able to maintain that for the whole game.”

Tenorio scored the game’s first four points before hitting nine by the end of the opening period. Last year’s Governors’ Cup Finals Most Valuable Player suited up 40 minutes, prompting Cone to apologize for giving his ace playmaker excessive playing time.

But then, Cone can be forgiven since Tenorio wasn’t even part of the last seconds of Game 4 when Ginebra failed to convert three shot attempts in the 85-83 defeat at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

“We started really aggressive. We have to be aggressive for 48 minutes, we cannot be aggressive for three quarters or three-and-a-half quarters,” Tenorio said. “We did it the whole game, so we ended up winning the game. I think that’s really the key: when we’re aggressive defensively, offensively, automatic, we’ll be aggressive.”

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Written by Tempo Online

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