LA Tenorio came out of the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel locker room greeted wildly by a supporter who went the distance to make sure they would cross paths.
From a distance, they look like twins separated by birth.
“Ngayon ka lang nagbihis, kanina pa yung laro,” Tenorio told 38-year-old deadringer Lando Bago, who was even wearing a replica jersey of the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals MVP when they finally met after Ginebra’s 89-78 victory over Magnolia at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.
Bago, whose strong resemblance became a laughing matter on social media after watching several Ginebra games last season, was one of many Ginebra fans who Tenorio made happy after a third straight Christmas Day victory – all at the expense of their Manila Clasico rival.
Tenorio had 15 points, five rebounds, eight assists and five steals, backing up the dominating performances of twin towers Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar as Ginebra opened its Philippine Cup campaign on a high note in front of about 22,000 fans.
Though he was like Santa Claus who provided presents to Bago and the rest of the Ginebra faithful, Tenorio had to reluctantly play the role of the Grinch as well.
“Hindi pa ito yung kumbaga sukatan ng team namin. It’s nice to win but the win hides all the lapses,” said Tenorio.
“So we have to see the video this week, for sure makikita namin yung mga mali namin na kailangan pang i-imporve for us to get better, for us to be a playoff team, and a championship contender also.
“This is not an assessment na ‘Ang lakas ng Ginebra even maraming injuries,’” added Tenorio, referring to the injuries of veterans Joe Devance and Sol Mercado and Art dela Cruz. “This is not the barometer. Probably Magnolia had a bad shooting night compared in their last game.”
Ginebra was ahead for most of the match but saw Magnolia come back in the third and made it a close game. It took some key baskets from Tenorio along with Slaughter and Aguilar and help from Scottie Thompson and Jervy Cruz to finish off the Hotshots.
Kings coach Tim Cone later gave a positive review of his team’s performance amid the inconsistencies.
“I’m a little surprised at how well we played,” Cone said. “We weren’t perfect out there but we played with really good energy. It was like a perfect storm for us to get beat tonight, but our guys figured out a way.”