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IRONMAN STREAK IN DANGER? | LA Tenorio goes down with groin injury says Tim Cone

LA Tenorio could be in danger of sitting out Game 6 due to a groin injury. Dennis Acosta
By Ivan Saldajeno

PASAY—Ginebra's crucial PBA Commissioner's Cup Finals Game 5 win against Bay Area probably came with a price.

Gin Kings coach Tim Cone revealed after the Sunday night game at the SM Mall of Asia Arena here that LA Tenorio went down with a groin injury before halftime.

Tenorio was subbed off with only eight seconds left in the first half as he was already feeling the pain in his groin area.

With the development, Cone was forced to give Stanley Pringle, who is on a minutes restriction as he is recovering fully from his meniscus injury, extended playing time.

"We really tried hard to keep Stanley's minutes down. We don't want him to play 30 minutes a game. We tried to keep him in the 20-minute range, so he's in and out a lot and we don't try to extend his minutes too long. But LA came out with a groin injury. That's why he wasn't playing down the stretch," Cone said.

He then revealed that Tenorio tried to play through the injury in the second half, but only 36 seconds into the third quarter, he had to call it a night.

"He got some therapy at halftime, and he said he felt OK, he could play. And then I asked him if he wanted to start [the third quarter]. He said, 'Yes, I want to start and try it out,' and after the first possession, he goes, 'No more. I can't do it,'" Cone further said.

As recent history suggests, players who go down to groin injuries had to sit out a number of games to let them heal, which means Tenorio's "Ironman" streak, that is, the number of consecutive games he has played in, could be in danger of getting snapped.

The 38-year-old point guard, now in his 16th season in the pros, played his 736th PBA game on Sunday night, extending the league's current "Ironman" record.

Prior to exiting the game, Tenorio had eight points, one rebound, three assists, and one steal in almost 20 minutes of action.

He has yet to miss a single game in the PBA since getting drafted in 2006—or since 2002 dating back to his college days at Ateneo.

"[If you have] groin problems, like hamstrings, if you continue to play on it and stretch it worse, they could take a while to heal," Cone further said. "We won't know [his status] until tomorrow when he can get through the therapy and the swelling, and then let's see what happens—how he's walking and moving."

Good thing for him, Pringle and also John Pinto and Scottie Thompson stepped up in the second half in Tenorio's absence.

"We had to look for a kick-out pass, and Stanley was the one who received those kick-out passes and thankfully knocked down those shots," Cone said on Pringle, pertaining to the two corner threes which turned out to be the daggers for Ginebra to save the Game 5 win against Bay Area.

Cone added, "Nards stepped up, came out, played some really good defense, and kept our defense going, and Scottie, of course, was being Scottie."

Thompson and Pinto, unlike Pringle, were quiet in scoring, only combining for half of Pringle's entire scoring output.

However, Thompson made up for it with his impressive playmaking chores, in which he dished out eight assists, while Pinto, although not recording a single steal or block in the game, banked on his intangibles.

Meanwhile, Cone said that the Gin Kings will work on making Tenorio available for the potential title-clinching Game 6 with two full days off until the Wednesday night rematch at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

"Hopefully, we get him out fast enough that we didn't damage him for the rest of the series," Cone further said. "He is so key to what we do, especially in the playoffs because he's our leader, ball handler, organizer, big-shot guy, and emotional leader as well, so we're gonna be missing all those things if he doesn't get a chance to play."

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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