MANILA, Philippines – Payback is sweet and if LA Tenorio would have it, it is better that Barangay Ginebra exact revenge on the San Miguel Beermen as early as the semifinals of the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup.
The Gin Kings ran out of gas in last year's All-Filipino finals after losing to the Beermen in 5 games but Ginebra now has a chance to turn back San Miguel when they face in a best-of-7 semifinals series.
Ginebra, which finished at 7th place in the Philippine Cup last year, had to overcome a twice-to-beat disadvantage against the Alaska Aces in the quarterfinals and go the distance in 7 semifinals games against the Magnolia Hotshots only to witness the Beermen claim their 3rd straight All-Filipino title.
Now that they are coming off just two playoff games, Tenorio believes they can go toe-to-toe with the Beermen.
"Oo naman," said Tenorio when asked if he is motivated by revenge. "Kasi kaya naman namin last conference talaga eh, even though wala si Greg (Slaughter) last conference. Kaya naman namin eh. Kaya lang we came from number 7 all the way to the finals so parang naubusan na rin kami noon, to be honest."
(Of course. Because we knew we can win last conference even though we did not have Greg. We can win. But we came from number 7 all the way to the finals and we did not have enough left in the tank, to be honest.)
"But this time around, magandang opportunity for us this quarterfinals itong game namin against Rain or Shine really prepared us for the semifinals," added Tenorio after Ginebra dispatched the Elasto Painters in only two games of the best-of-3 quarterfinals.
(But this time around, this is a good opportunity for us because our quarterfinals series against Rain or Shine really prepared us for the semifinals.)
Despite Slaughter, who suffered a bum ankle, being questionable at the start of the semifinals, Tenorio says the Gin Kings have the pieces to contend against the star-studded Beermen.
Last season, the PBA's Mythical Five almost became an all-San Miguel lineup with the inclusion of June Mar Fajardo, Arwind Santos, Chris Ross and Alex Cabagnot.
"We have enough talent also, enough people also to contain June Mar and their shooters and their bigs. And also, their guards. We’ll see. It’s going be tough for us, definitely."
The Ginebra-San Miguel series will begin on Friday, March 9, at the Araneta Coliseum.
"We don’t expect really like magandang panalo this semis (a dominant win this semis). All we need is to be there. One-point win? We’ll take it as long as we get the W," Tenorio concluded. – 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.