ANTIPOLO, Philippines – Barangay Ginebra head coach Tim Cone praised LA Tenorio for being a selfless leader as the veteran guard joined the Gin Kings staff just days after revealing his cancer diagnosis.
With Tenorio around, Ginebra drew first blood in its PBA Governors’ Cup semifinals clash against San Miguel with a 121-112 win on Friday, March 24.
“I feel honored that he’s spending his time with us. He’s so valuable. He’s our leader,” said Cone.
“He’s been our leader from the time I’m here and even when I was with Alaska 14, 15 years ago. He was our leader back then. He’s just a natural-born leader.”
The Gin Kings played without Tenorio for the second half of the elimination round and the start of the playoffs initially due to a groin injury as his PBA record of most consecutive games played stopped at 744 appearances.
But the 38-year-old guard disclosed on Tuesday, March 21, that he only used the injury as the reason for his absence and that he recently underwent surgery after being diagnosed with Stage 3 colon cancer three weeks ago.
Tenorio, though, still made his presence felt despite not being able to play.
Showing Ginebra his unwavering support, Tenorio joined the coaching staff on Friday as the Gin Kings grabbed a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five affair.
“I just find it really selfless on his part to be here and I think the whole team feels that,” said Cone.
“It can be kind of corny [to say that] we’re doing this for LA – of course, we’re doing this for LA. It doesn’t need to be said. I don’t think it needs to be repeated.”
As Ginebra seeks to capture its fifth Governors’ Cup crown in seven seasons, Cone said the team will draw strength from its cancer-stricken captain.
“He honors us by his presence. Hopefully we can honor him by continuing to play hard and playing in his image.” – Rappler.com
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