LA Tenorio to focus on defense if included in Gilas 12-man lineup

Barangay Ginebra veteran playmaker LA Tenorio is ready to serve as a defensive stopper if Gilas Pilipinas coach Yeng Guiao includes him in the final 12-man lineup.

Tenorio said the latest 20-man pool includes many offensive weapons, a reason why he would focus on defense instead of scoring. In his previous stints with Gilas back in 2013 and 2014, he recalled he was more of a pesky defender.

"I'm not the type who really scores (in previous Gilas stints) because I believe Jayson (Castro) and Jimmy (Alapag) can provide that. So what I did was to defend the other guards and get them tired," he told ESPN5 on Saturday.

Tenorio said given Guiao's equal-scoring system, he won't be gun shy when an opportunity to score presents itself.

"I can orchestrate inside the court, but scoring, if there's an opportunity, why not? Especially under coach Yeng's system, you have to shoot that ball when you're open. That's something other players who played under him have been saying, so I'm also excited to play under him," explained Tenorio.

Gilas is eyeing a two-game sweep of its home stand against the visiting Kazakhstan on November 30 and Iran on December 3. But that would be easier said than done. Tenorio explained that Iran's young playmaker Sajjad Mashayekhi has been playing very well in the Asian qualifiers.

"He's that left-handed point guard of Iran, whom I remembered facing during the (2014) FIBA Asia Cup in Wuhan, China. He used to be the backup point guard for Iran when (Mehdi) Kamrani was still playing," recalled Tenorio.

"But he's a pesky defender too when I played against him in 2014. But we're both pesky defenders, though now, I noticed that he's become a scorer as well, has very good outside shooting and has a nice pull-up (jumper)," he added.

Gilas is set to begin practice for the fifth window on Monday at the Meralco gym.