LA Tenorio is back in the Asian Games to settle an unfinished business.
But instead of calling out plays on the court, the veteran point guard embraces a new role as one of head coach Tim Cone’s deputies at the Gilas Pilipinas squad that is seeking to end a 25-year podium drought in the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou.
The 39-year-old Tenorio, who six months ago bared his bout with Stage 3 colon cancer, shared that he did not hesitate when Cone asked for his help.
“I told him yes. I’m willing to help the team with whatever I can contribute, especially for the players. I guess I would say I have some experience in the national team, although I know it’s different from when I was still playing,” Tenorio said.
The Barangay Ginebra San Miguel star is making his “return” to the Asiad after donning the tricolor in 2014 in Incheon in an infamous run that saw Gilas shooting in its own goal against Kazakhstan in an attempt to force overtime to stay in the semifinal hunt. Gilas finished seventh in that edition.
Tenorio, who is working out his
much-awaited Philippine Basketball Association return in November, is joined by Olsen Racela and Richard Del Rosario as Cone’s assistants.
“I’m happy that I’m here. This actually comes on a great timing as I’m slowly going back to doing my workouts and training supposedly. I plan to join them (in workouts) during training camp,” Tenorio said as Gilas prepare for their quest to land at the podium clinching the bronze medal in 1998 in Bangkok.
The four-time Philippine Basketball Association Finals Most Valuable Player is also taking the opportunity to contribute to Gilas by guiding young guards Chris Newsome, Scottie Thompson, Terrence Romeo and Roger Pogoy.
“This serves as my outlet to help the young players, my teammates and they’re happy to see me. At least I’m not missing out on basketball although I’m not playing. This is a big help for me after my reset for the past six months, helping the team is one of the best things for me to start,” he said.
Tenorio last played for Gilas in 2019 when they won gold in the Manila Southeast Asian Games also under Cone.
Gilas are in Group C along with Middle Eastern powerhouse Jordan, Bahrain and Thailand.
They will open their campaign on 26 September against Bahrain.