Barangay Ginebra guard Nard Pinto (No. 17) PBA PHOTO

Pinto steps up on Tenorio’s absence

Barangay Ginebra guard Nard Pinto understands his role so well it didn’t matter if he plays spare minutes or stays on till the final buzzer of each game.

No wonder, when veteran playmaker LA Tenorio felt something on his abdomen in the brief time he played in Ginebra’s 2022-23 PBA Governors’ Cup debut versus Rain or Shine, Pinto rose to the occasion for the Gin Kings.

The former Arellano Chief guard scattered 12 points, including eight crucial ones in the last period to help Ginebra stave off Rain or Shine’s rally en route to a 116-108 win Sunday night.

Pinto was humble to credit Ginebra coach Tim Cone for teaching them what they need to know in practice, and from which, they simply try to apply each game.

“Marami kaming na accomplish at natutunan dahil kay coach Tim,” said Pinto. “Practice pa lang binibigay ko best ko. And every time nabibigyan ako ng minutes para maitulong sa team.”

Cone shared that Pinto has been one of the hardest working players in the team, someone who won’t let his guard down even during the break.

“He’s one other guy who we don’t worry about because he stays in shape all the time, he and Scottie (Thompson),” Cone said.

But being the energy guy of the team, Cone added the Gin Kings somehow had a pair of stabilizers in Pinto and Thompson, who delivered when the team needed it most in the final period.

“Having guys like Nards and Scottie, we didn’t panic when we fell behind a short time,” said the American mentor. “We got back in time game with a couple of big threes. One from him (Pinto) and we made a run in the end with Nards. So well deserved best player of the game.”

Pinto’s big game was just timely as Tenorio appeared to have strained his abdomen, which prompted Cone to pull him out after just being on the floor for over two minutes.

“LA had a tweak of his abdomincla muscle, and the idea is to play him late and see how he felt, and then start him in the second quarter and see how long he can go,” explained Cone.

“Nard’s was crucial because we want to keep Scottie’s minutes down a bit, and we didn’t think LA would have lot of minutes,” he added.

“He’s (Pinto) always played well in all fourth quarters.”

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