LA Tenorio and his ‘Iron Man’ streak: key moments in his 744 straight games played
LA Tenorio was reflective the day after his record streak of 744 consecutive games came to an end to a groin injury that forced him to miss action for the first time in his PBA career.
“Seventeen straight years of playing in the PBA is truly a great blessing for me and my family,” he said on Thursday in a Twitter post. “I am truly grateful to God for giving me that strength to play 744 straight games in front of millions of Filipinos all over the world.
“But streaks are bound to end eventually and sad to say it started last game,” added Tenorio, who didn’t see action when Ginebra pulled off a 112-107 win over Meralco at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
It’s a record that could stand the test of time, which Tenorio pulled off ever since he stepped in a PBA game for the first time in 2006.
WHEN DID TENORIO’S STREAK BEGIN?
Tenorio made his debut on Oct. 6, 2006 when the third overall pick of San Miguel Beer came off the bench to produce 11 points and three assists in 25 minutes against Red Bull Barako. Tenorio’s first taste of professional ball, however, ended in defeat as Red Bull won, 84-79, at Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City.
He also played his 10th career game against Red Bull in the same conference, this time with San Miguel claiming an 84-78 win at Araneta Coliseum on Nov. 15, 2006. Tenorio appeared for just 14 minutes, posting four points, two rebounds and three assists.
His 50th appearance also came in his rookie campaign on June 6, 2007 at the Big Dome. Tenorio scored six in San Miguel’s 103-99 loss to Air21 in a playoff for the fifth seed and an outright quarterfinals berth.
TENORIO’S 100TH AND 200TH GAMES
Tenorio was already playing for a different team when he made his 100th game in the league. The then-sophomore played for Alaska in an 80-79 loss to his former team San Miguel, which was then known as Magnolia, on June 29, 2008 at Araneta.
It was in a semifinal game when Tenorio doubled the mark in Alaska’s 90-86 victory over TNT in Game 5 of the Fiesta Conference semifinals on June 25, 2010. The Aces would take that series and eventually beat the Beermen in the Finals to win the final edition of that import-laden tournament.
SIGNIFICANCE OF TENORIO’S 281ST CAREER GAME
Game 281 happened on June 1, 2012 when Alaska lost to Powerade, 114-97, in the Governors’ Cup at the Big Dome. It was on that day that Tenorio moved past Dante Gonzalgo for second on the consecutive games list.
Gonzalgo once held the record of 280 straight games before being surpassed by four-time Most Valuable Player Alvin Patrimonio. Tenorio had four points and two assists in one of his final games in an Aces jersey. He would be shipped to Ginebra in the offseason as part of a three-team trade with new team GlobalPort.
TENORIO 372ND GAME
Tenorio played his 372nd consecutive game on May 20, 2014, going scoreless in Ginebra’s 89-71 win over GlobalPort at Araneta to kick off the Governors’ Cup campaign and the tenure of Jeffrey Cariaso, who coached the team until the following season.
Unknown to everyone, including Tenorio, the match served as the halfway point of the streak.
TENORIO’S 500TH GAME
Ginebra lost 118-112 to Rain or Shine in a Commissioner’s Cup game at Cuneta Astrodome on May 19, 2017, Tenorio’s 500th straight appearance. He finished with four points, three rebounds and three assists.
That feat put Tenorio 97 games shy of surpassing Patrimonio’s record of 596 which “The Captain” pulled off from 1992 until his retirement in 2004. It would take less than two years before the Gin Kings playmaker became the league’s new “Iron Man.”
BREAKING PATRIMONIO’S RECORD
March 17, 2019 will forever be remembered by fans as the night Tenorio set the all-time mark with his 597th consecutive game. Ironically, it happened in front of Patrimonio as Ginebra came away with a 96-93 win over Magnolia in the renewal of the “Manila Clasico” before a big crowd at Smart Araneta.
Patrimonio, already the team manager of the Hotshots, paid tribute to Tenorio at halftime with a salute and the presentation of the game ball in a symbolic passing of the torch.
HOW THE STREAK CONTINUED
Tenorio kept the streak going even after breaking Patrimonio’s mark. He reached No. 700 during last year’s Independence Day when Ginebra sneaked past Blackwater, 85-82, in the 2022 Philippine Cup at Ynares Center in Antipolo City.
A groin injury during this season’s Commissioner’s Cup Finals forced Tenorio to play limited minutes until last Feb. 19 when he had eight points in Ginebra’s 119-93 victory over Blackwater at Philsports Arena in Pasig City.
It turned out to be the end of Tenorio’s streak as his injury forced him to make the tough decision of focusing more on making a complete recovery rather than stretching his record streak.
WHO COULD POSSIBLY BREAK TENORIO’S RECORD?
Magnolia’s Mark Barroca is expected to make his 540th straight game against Terrafirma on Saturday. Breaking Tenorio’s mark seems doable, but making an estimation as to when is difficult since the 2023-24 season will be reduced to a two-conference format plus possible chances in the schedule in succeeding years.
Like Tenorio when the streak was active, Barroca has not missed a game in his PBA career that began as Magnolia’s first round pick in the 2011 draft.
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