THERE were plenty of heroes in Barangay Ginebra’s title conquest.
None stood taller than the smallest man on the court in LA Tenorio who put off surgery to remove bone spurs in his elbow to lead his team to back-to-back victories as Ginebra retained the Philippine Basketball Association Governors’ Cup crown.
It was more than just the numbers. Although Tenorio did submit excellent ones in 13.3 points, 3.7 assists, 2.7 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game in seven bruising matches where he played more than 40 minutes in the final three.
It was the leadership and composure he provided as the supremely confident Tenorio orchestrated Ginebra’s offense and presided over a rambunctious finish which saw the Gin Kings withstand the withering last stand by Meralco in the dying minutes of Game 7 won by Ginebra 101-96.
Tenorio more than earned the trust of Ginebra coach Tim Cone who gave him the opportunity to lead the squad to victory after backup point guard Sol Mercado went down with an injury in Game 4.
Cone just turned over the keys to his court general and Tenorio responded with confidence and aplomb to lead Ginebra to the throne.
Tenorio was scheduled to go under the knife Saturday the day after Game 7 which saw 54,086 souls watch the game. He responded by playing his best game of the series to score 26 points to go with four assists to lead his team to victory.
Ginebra also won its first back-to-back crowns after retaining the Governors’ Cup diadem.
For his efforts Tenorio was chosen the Most Valuable Player of the Finals his third in an 11-year career in the pro league which also yielded three PBA titles.
He won his first Finals MVP crown when he led the Cone-coached Alaska Aces to the 2010 PBA Fiesta Cup crown. He earned his second with Cone last season.
With the award he joined select company when he became the fifth player in league history with three Finals MVP awards after James Yap, Danny Siegle, Eric Menk and Danny Ildefonso.
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