Barangay Ginebra skipper LA Tenorio said the Gin Kings' 92-84 win in Game 3 augurs well for a team that's becoming more confident bursting through the defensive wall of tough rival Meralco.
Forced out of their comfort zone and dragged in a slow, grindout battle in the first two games of the PBA Governors' Cup title series, the Gin Kings managed to go on their usual tempo particularly in the third period and roared to a 2-1.
"Malaking bagay itong panalong ito sa amin," said Tenorio.
"I think not only because of the win but how we played this game for three quarters. Malaking confidence boost sa amin yun; nagkaroon kami ng belief sa sarili na we can beat this team kasi going to this series, we were really doubting how we can beat this team because they're really good defensively.
"So unti-unti nagkakaroon na kami ng kumpyansa sa sarili kung paano namin sila tatalunin. We will continue to take a look kung ano ano pa yung ginagawa nila sa amin defensively and to counter that and find ways na maka-score kami," he added.
The Gin Kings set the tone for the pivotal Game 3 win with a 35-16 third-quarter exchange.
Tenorio said that was all anchored on, well, defense, and sharing the ball.
"Iyung ginagawa namin this whole conference - getting the stops and getting the assists. Yun naman ang mantra namin. This game (3) nagawa namin iyun against their defense," he said.
Meralco's do-it-all import Allen Durham has been the focal point of the Ginebra defense, holding him to 23-13-7 in the third game.
But Tenorio stressed Ginebra also needs to put in check Durham's supporting cast - from fellow starter Chirs Newsome to "magic bunot" shock troopers like Game 3 revelation Bryan Faundo, who fired 10 points taking the place of injured Raymond Almazan, and Game 2 heroes John Pinto and Nico Salva, who shot 12 and nine, respectively, in Meralco's 104-102 triumph in Lucena.
"Our defense is also getting better, especialy against Durham. But we have to take a look at ano pwede naming gawin sa mga locals na nagkakaroon ng surprise contribution," said Tenorio.
"This game it was Faundo and (Trevis) Jackson. We can't take anything for granted talaga, specially players nila. Give credit to all their players also for being ready all the time. Just like last game, it was Salva. We can't afford doing that the whole series.
We're containing Durham but I think we have to contain everyone. Kaya ganon kalakas ang Meralco ngayon, kaya sila andito (sa finals)," he added. (OL)