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OPINION

Tenorio’s legacy

‘In my opinion, not missing a game is more difficult than winning an MVP.’

How challenging is it for a basketball player to see action for 737 straight games?
In a sport where completing a season and playing non-stop is difficult while dealing with uncontrollable situations like injuries, sickness and the most infamous of it all — load management — are also happening, LA Tenorio would continuously play no matter what.
Neither injuries, sickness or an opposing player or squad could stop him from playing. He wants to hear nothing but a bounce of a basketball.
Load management?
Tenorio doesn’t want to waste the fans’ hard-earned money and travel time. Most of them would save a few pennies, and came all the way from various provinces just to watch them play.
He doesn’t want to disappoint them.
He is mandated to play because he is a professional basketball player.
Such was the case when Tenorio played in pain during Barangay Ginebra’s best-of-seven championship series against a crack visiting team from Hong Kong — Bay Area — as even a nagging strain in between his abdomen and groin area couldn’t slow him down.
The streak of not missing a game served as his biggest motivation.
Keeping his perfect attendance is a legacy he wants to keep, like an honor or diligent student who doesn’t want to miss a class.
Eight times, Tenorio has won a championship. Four times, he’s been chosen as the Finals Most Valuable Player. Nine times, he’s been included in the PBA All-Star game and once he was adjudged the Best Player of the Conference.
But all those awards pale in comparison with his greatest achievement of becoming the modern-day “Iron Man,” a player who hasn’t missed a game until he retires.
“In my opinion, not missing a game is more difficult than winning an MVP,” Tenorio said.
“How many times have we seen an MVP not being able to complete a season? How many times have we seen an MVP getting injured?”
“Playing non-stop basketball is so difficult and I must admit the moment I realized that I’ve not missed a game, it motivated me even more to play. That is going to be my legacy.”
At this point in his career where he doesn’t have to dominate, Tenorio just wanted to serve as an inspiration to the younger players and the fans.
There was a time when Tenorio felt he’s not much needed. His minutes were dwindling and he saw that in the Commissioner’s Cup.
But he was preserved for the crucial stretch and Ginebra coach Tim Cone wanted to see a “Playoff LA Tenorio” and, true enough, he was relied upon even more when push came to shove.
The Kings have not yet played a game in the Governors’ Cup and just like in the other games, Tenorio is so pumped up to compete.
Never mind if he’s being bothered by a nagging injury.
He just wants to go out there and play, no matter what, and hope to inspire others that even in those painful moments, we just have to continue to carry on.
The moment you stop is the time that you’re already done.

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