MANILA, Philippines – LA Tenorio is called the PBA's Ironman for a reason.
Less than two months after cracking the Top 15 all-time assists leaders, Tenorio became part of PBA history again after logging in the 4th most minutes played in a game by a local.
"The Gineral" registered nearly 57 minutes (56:52) in Barangay Ginebra's 100-92 triple overtime win over the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters Friday, March 2. The only 3 locals in the 42-year-old league to play more minutes are Kerby Reymundo (61 minutes in 2006), Jun Limpot (60 in 1993) and Robert Jaworski (58 minutes in 1986).
For Tenorio, playing way beyond his usual minutes is something he can endure especially when Ginebra's playoff chances were on the line.
The win secured the Gin Kings, who improved to 6-5, the 4th place heading into the quarterfinals. A loss against Rain or Shine would have put them on a playoff for the last quarterfinals slot against the Blackwater Elite and a potential clash against the pacesetting San Miguel Beermen, who hold a twice-to-beat incentive.
"Kailangan talaga namin mailusot 'to eh. Wala namang ibang choice so obviously kailangan talagang isagad kung kailangan isagad just to get the win para magkaroon kami ng chance sa playoffs," said Tenorio.
(We really needed to come away with this win. We don't have any other choice, we obviously need to pull it through just to get the win so we can have a chance in the playoffs.)
Even though playing that long may take a toll on his body, Tenorio said he's just making the most of the opportunities given to him by head coach Tim Cone and the whole Ginebra management.
"I’m sure a lot of players, a lot of aspiring basketball players want to be in my shoes right now. So I take it as a blessing right now na nakakalaro ako ng matagal, hanggang ngayon naglalaro pa rin ako (that I can playing a lot of minutes that I am still playing.)"
"Now that I’m still here na kaya ko pa, na binibigyan ako ng trust ng team, the management, I feel blessed and I’m not going to take anything for granted talaga. Off the court kung ano ang dapat kong gawin to stay in shape gagawin ko. Hindi ko rin alam kung paano ako tumagal," added Tenorio.
(Now that I'm still here and I can still play, that I'm trusted by the team, the managament, I feel blessed and I'm really not going to take anything for granted. Off the court, whatever I am doing to stay in shape, I will do it. I myself don't know how I stayed this long in the league.)
Tenorio, who capped his 543rd straight game with a 20-point and 6-rebound performance, is slowly closing in on another record. Barring injuries, he can eclipse Alvin Patrimonio's record of consecutive games played of 596 next season.
"With my age right now, 33, my mileage, not missing a single game, its truly a blessing for me."
Ginebra will have a two days to regain strength before the quarterfinals begin on Monday, March 5, at the Araneta Coliseum. The Gin Kings will face the Elasto Painters anew, this time on a best-of-3 series. – Rappler.com
Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.