MANILA, Philippines – Playoff basketball at its finest.
Tempers flared as Barangay Ginebra and TNT battled it out in Game 3 of their PBA Commissioner's Cup semifinals after Gin Kings guard LA Tenorio and KaTropa import Terrence Jones engaged in a tense staredown.
The 5-foot-9 Tenorio stood his ground against the 6-foot-9 Jones after bumping into each other when they both chased the ball midway through the maiden quarter.
"I'm his favorite. I don't know why. I'm his favorite," Tenorio said of Jones in Filipino while smiling.
It was not the first time the two players were involved in a heated moment as Tenorio and Jones both hit each other in the stomach when Ginebra and TNT faced in the elimination round.
In that game, replays revealed Jones appeared to have delivered the first blow before Tenorio retaliated. (READ: LA Tenorio admits hitting Terrence Jones, but says he didn't start it)
"That's part of the game, especially the game was very emotional because this is the semifinals. There are instances that will happen," Tenorio said of the staredown.
"Both teams are really playing hard especially with our backs against the wall so we'll just do everything to get the win."
But Tenorio had the last laugh as he helped the Gin Kings prevent the KaTropa from sweeping the best-of-five duel with an 80-72 victory on Tuesday, July 30.
"It was very difficult especially against Talk N Text. We know how hard we have to play for 48 minutes versus TNT. They're the No. 1 team for a reason," he said.
Ginebra will once again seek to stay alive when they meet TNT in Game 4 at the Araneta Coliseum on Thursday, August 1. – Rappler.com
Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.