Tenorio’s return sparks Gin Kings’ latest victory
Once again, Barangay Ginebra’s new guys came through down the stretch on Sunday night.
“We came into the second half, struggling against the zone [defense], and LA stepped up—made two big three-pointers—to keep us moving. So that’s LA. That’s what we’ve missed and that’s what we’re really happy to have,” coach Tim Cone said on the heels of a 110-99 triumph over Terrafirma at PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.
Import Tony Bishop Jr. and Maverick Ahanmisi hit some timely buckets in the final period to put the game to bed, but it was Tenorio who paved the way in building a cushion that the Gin Kings turned to just as when the Dyip was regaining their confidence.
“It’s been an incredible journey for LA. It started with a bunch of tears, and just like LA, he just put his nose to the [grindstone] and just worked his way back. It all started with tears, now we have so much joy for him,” Cone said of his old hand.
Sidelined for 287 days, the veteran playmaker who once set the league record for most consecutive games played at 744 matches, played for nearly 26 minutes to finish with six points, three assists, a steal and a rebound.
He wound up plus-6 in efficiency, matching the Gin Kings’ stand-in reinforcement in the win that also helped the crowd darlings improve to 4-1 in standings.
‘Who would’ve thought?’
“As I’ve said [in my speech] earlier, I’m just really happy and grateful for having another chance to play. Who would’ve thought?” Tenorio told reporters in a lengthy chat before leaving the venue.
“Even I never thought I was going to be able to play again while I was going through my treatments,” he added. “I was really focused on healing, getting better and getting back my health—not because I wanted to play basketball—but for my family, my children and my wife.”
Tenorio last played on Feb. 19 in a rout of Blackwater at the same venue. He spent months back and forth to Singapore, where he received medical care for his colon condition. The first time he touched a basketball, he said, was when he decided to help out the national team in its bid in the Hangzhou Asian Games.
“This is more than basketball already,” he said. “It’s more on [inspiring] people who have experienced and are experiencing what I had when I was sick. Hopefully, I was able to inspire them through showing that as long as you’re always positive and grateful each day, and are always praying, nothing is impossible,” he said.
“It has not been easy. But it was never impossible to recover.”
Cone said Bishop and Ahanmisi are both works in progress as Barangay Ginebra continues to navigate its title-retention bid with several new faces and a handful of players in and out of sick bay.
After 287 days and an inspiring battle with colon cancer, LA Tenorio is back with Barangay Ginebra. The defending Commissioner's Cup champions will be battling Terrafirma Dyip tonight here at PhilSports Arena in Pasig City. | via Denison Rey Dalupang/Inquirer Sports
Posted by Inquirer Sports on Sunday, December 3, 2023