Tenorio thought of not playing in PBA restart

Published December 13, 2020, 5:14 PM

by Waylon Galvez

Barangay Ginebra guard LA Tenorio (PBA Images)

Barangay Ginebra San Miguel veteran guard LA Tenorio was instrumental in the team’s successful run in the PBA Philippine Cup that gave him his very first all-Filipino conference in 15 years plus a PBA Press Corps Finals Most Valuable Player (MVP) award.

However, these things almost didn’t happen.

Tenorio made a revelation that he thought of not joining the team due to personal reasons.

One was when Tenorio’s wife Chesca gave birth to their fourth child, the couple’s first baby girl, and second was due to a laparoscopic appendectomy he had a week prior to the team’s departure to the PBA bubble in Clark, Pampanga.

“To be honest… ito hindi ko masyado sinasabi… I was thinking of not going to the bubble,” said Tenorio in a recorded interview on The Chasedown on One PH over Cignal TV last Saturday.

LA Tenorio and wife Cheska along with kids Santi (8yrs old), Sian (7yrs old), Lucas (3yrs old). Photo from LA Tenorio’s IG account @la_tenorio
Solana “Reese” Therese, the two-month old daughter of Tenorio

“First pinanganak yung anak ko, and second yung nangyari sa akin na laparoscopic appendectomy procedure. Parang kung babalikan ko, hindi ako talaga pinapapunta. May ganung factor, may ganung senyales.”

According to Tenorio, it was PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial and Ginebra governor and San Miguel Corporation (SMC) Sports Director Alfrancis Chua who convinced him to join the team.

Both league officials discussed missing five games, as well as playing just three minutes per game in the first couple of matches, but Tenorio had a different outlook in the matter.

“Sabi nila baka naman kayang humabol, mag-miss ng ilang games. Sabi ko kung magmi-miss ako ilang games, e di mag-miss na lang ako ng buong season,” Tenorio said laughing as he looks back on the rather serious talks he had at that time with Marcial and Chua.

Tenorio said Chua informed Ginebra coach Tim Cone of the situation since the operation still needs to fully heal for him to be ready, and he finally had it go on the night of the team’s departure.

The 5-foot-9 guard was resting on the sideline during practice sessions and scrimmages as Ginebra prepared for the restart of the lone PBA conference, and was only allowed to join the team training a day before their opening game against the NLEX Road Warriors.

In that game, however, Tenorio – instead of the planned three-minute per game – ended up playing nearly 12 minutes off the bench in a 102-92 win last Oct. 11 at the AUF gym in Pampanga.

“Si Comm Willie sinesenyasan ako (arms crossed means to stop). Again, talagang naisip ko yun (not to join the team in the restart),” said Tenorio, who owns the PBA ‘Iron Man’ record for successive games with 663.

Read: ‘Iron Man’ Tenorio shines in big stage, earns fourth Finals MVP award

Although both Marcial and Chua made strong points for him to join the team, Tenorio said it was his better half’s words that really gave him the strength to really go and play.

Tenorio said the support of his family was crucial.

“Funny thing is, ang nag-sabi na magpunta ako is wife ko. Kilala niya ako kung papanano mag-feed off yung mga teammates ko even if I dont play. Makita ka lang na nandun ka, suporta ka and hindi sila iniwan,” said Tenorio.

Read: Bubble kings: Ginebra captures All-Filipino crown as Tenorio gets Finals MVP nod

“Wife ko is a big factor… maski na may baby girl kami and alam kong mahihirapan siya, tapos may three boys pa kami na online studies, sabi niya you gave to go… the day before ako nag-decide (to go in the bubble).”

“Pumasok sa isip ko as one of the leaders ng team, hindi ako basta basta mag-fall, hanggat kaya ko lalaban ako,” added Tenorio, who now has six PBA championships and four Finals MVP.