ANTIPOLO CITY — Barangay Ginebra San Miguel coach Tim Cone paid tribute to his long-time floor general LA Tenorio after he played his 700th career PBA game, describing him as someone who is one of a kind.
“He’s a freak of nature,” Cone said of Tenorio after Ginebra’s 85-82 win over Blackwater in a down-the-wire contest held Sunday, June 12 at the Ynares Center here.
Tenorio’s milestone was recognized at halftime of the same game, receiving a special award from PBA commissioner Willie Marcial, San Miguel Corporation sports director Alfrancis Chua and team governors Chito Salud of Converge and Silliman Sy of Blackwater.
It’s a fitting recognition to the league’s all-time leader in consecutive games played, considering that he has never sat out at least once throughout a decorated career which began in 2006.
Cone said Tenorio may have a different DNA that allows him to have such longevity, though adding that it’s without putting in the work.
“He works for it. He works really hard,” the league’s winningest mentor said. “We used to see him completely submerged up to his neck in ice bath after every practice. I can't even put my little toe into it. And he submerges his own body and sits in there.
“He brings his own food at practice and you never see him going and eating any fast food or anything like that. He really takes care of himself. And I think he and his wife really make plans on how they're gonna do things to make sure he's always right and ready.
“It takes a lot of great discipline as well that he has. But I also think he's just kind of a freak of nature — I mean he doesn't get injured, knock on wood. I mean, he had appendicitis and he had an operation and five days later he's playing in a basketball game, he's draining his wound while he's playing. That's not normal. He's not normal. He's a great guy, though.”
Tenorio is flattered when told of the kind words of Cone, who has been his coach for 436 of those games. The seven-time champion also bared that he has also invested in his body to make sure he stays fit even at the age of 37.
But Tenorio has a better reason as to why there’s still the desire to play, and it’s not as complex as it may seem.
“Nag-eenjoy lang din ako sa competition. I’m enjoying myself,” Tenorio said. “This is my comfort zone, playing in the PBA with everyone.
“I think that’s the secret, not being too hard on your career, not being too hard on yourself to perform. I always tell the players to enjoy the game, enjoy the competition and enjoy the atmosphere.
“And I can say na wala naman ako naging problema sa mga tao dito sa PBA so it’s a big factor as to why I enjoy playing the game,” added Tenorio.