LA Tenorio rises above the criticism, hopes for Ginebra dynasty

MANILA, Philippines – LA Tenorio, who was named Finals MVP of the 2016 PBA Governors’ Cup, won his second career championship when Barangay Ginebra defeated the Meralco Bolts in Game 6 on Wednesday, October 19, thanks to a buzzer-beating triple by import Justin Brownlee.

While Tenorio, the former Ateneo Blue Eagle superstar, didn’t specify which from his two rings he savours more, it seemed like his second championship, which arrived 6 years after the first, was more special due to the trials and tribulations Ginebra went through before getting to the top of the PBA food chain once again.

“I’m so happy na finally nakuha narin namin yung matagal na inaantay namin na championship. I’m so thankful sa mga teammates ko, coaching staff - especially kay Coach Tim (Cone) - and sa mga boss namin. Hindi ito magiging possible kung hindi dahil sakanila,” the 32-year-old Batangas native said after emerging from his team’s locker room.

(I'm so happy were were finally able to get the championship. I'm so thankful for my teammates, coaching staff, and to our bosses. This wouldn't be possible without them.) 

The 6-time All-Star became a member of Ginebra, arguably the most popular franchise in PBA history, after getting traded by the Alaska Aces back in 2012. Since then, the Gin Kings have seen their share of tough defeats and early eliminations, and with that came criticism from both fans of the team and PBA.

In fact nearly two years ago, there were rumors about Ginebra possibly trading LA Tenorio, which was made more controversial by posts of “Trade LA Tenorio” from social media accounts.

Instead of getting upset by the noise, Tenorio says he used it as fuel to drive him for another title.

“Things like that, we cannot control. May mga tao talagang will pull you down (There will be people who will pull you down). For me, it’s a challenge. It’s a challenge for me. I don’t care kung ano yung sasabihin nila saakin (I don't care what they will say about me),” Tenorio said.

“As long as yung team namin, we’re working hard, and nag tutulungan kami. Hindi naman nila alam kung ano yung ginagawa namin araw-araw eh. They’re just watching the game.”

(As long as our team is working hard, and helping each other out. They don't know what we do every day. They're just watching the game.)

Although some of the criticism will subside now that Ginebra has won a title for the first time in 8 years, Tenorio believes the noise will be present again eventually. 

In less that a month (November 20), the 2016-2017 PBA season begins with the All-Filipino Conference.

“It’s a challenge for me and now that we’re here… hindi pa matatapos yan. Sasabihin nila, ‘Tsama lang.’ Hindi matatapos yan. Yan trabaho nila,” he shared.

(It won't end there. They'll say, "They just got lucky." It won't end yet. That's their job.)

And in his view, it’s Ginebra’s job to silence the critics once again, potentially by starting a PBA dynasty.

“Now that we got one championship with Ginebra, sana naramdaman na namin yung feeling kung papaano pumunta sa championship (hopefully we learn what it's like to win a championship). Hopefully this will be the first sa dynasty bubuhay namin sa (we'll start with) Ginebra.” –