SMART CLARK GIGA CITY–Against all odds, LA Tenorio is showing why he’s the undisputed “Iron Man” of the PBA.
The 36-year-old Tenorio played his 650th straight game on Friday night at the Angeles University Foundation Arena here despite not being in his top form following a surgery that removed his appendix right before the bubble season.
The procedure prevented him to go all out on the gas pedal, but Tenorio is slowly regaining his groove and had his best performance yet when he scored 15 points to go with nine assists and five rebounds in 37 minutes of action in Barangay Ginebra ‘s 85-79 win over TNT which enabled them to take the solo lead with a 7-2 slate.
Tenorio had a hard time finding words to describe his “Iron Man” streak after he admitted that he’s still not in 100-percent condition as his wound from the surgery has yet to fully heal.
“I’m really blessed with the situation right now. I’ve been playing I don’t know how many games na. But after everything ng nangyari sa’kin before this bubble, sobrang, ako rin di ‘ko ma-explain kung papaano ko nagagawa even with the operation,” said a slightly emotional Tenorio.
“Even my first two games, I have to put a needle again, butasin ulit, may mga ganung instances,” he added.
The 14-year veteran said he’s taking the risk as a lot is at stake in this historic bubble season.
Tenorio is seeking to win his first-ever All-Filipino title since getting drafted in 2006 while Ginebra is eyeing to hoist its first Philippine Cup trophy since 2007.
“Para sa’kin kasi bahala na kasi ang tagal naming hinintay ‘to, ang tagal kong hinintay ‘tong PBA season,” he said. “Ayokong i-waste itong opportunity that’s why I really work hard na hindi ako maka-miss (ng game) kahit na ganito ang sitwasyon ko. Nag-eextra ako talaga kahit ‘yung team nagpapahinga. I really prepared hard for this.”
The former Gilas Pilipinas star is willing to put all on the line even if that means another surgery.
“Three months lang naman ‘to. Sabi ko nga sa doctor, he can’t get mad, pero nararamdaman ko na gusto niya ‘ko pagsabihan na, ‘Relax ka lang, operation pa rin ‘yan eh.’ But three months lang ‘to eh. Bahala na pagkatapos.”
“Saka ko na lang ‘to poproblemahin. If kailangan ulit buksan siguro naman may three months na break yata tayo after this or more siguro. Bahala na.”
After all, the decorated cager has already decided to be away from his family for this bubble tournament.
“Since I’m here already, kumbaga ibibigay ko na rin ang lahat. I don’t wanna waste this opportunity talaga na nandito na ko. Nag-sacrifice na rin ako so might as well make the most out of it.”
“‘Yun lang ang mindset ko and I kept on telling my teammates the same thing, ‘wag natin sayangin.”
Tenorio emphasized that he’s ready to last until December 13, the final day of the bubble if the playoffs go down the wire.
“That’s the plan.”