LA Tenorio added another feather to his cap on Sunday night.
The 34-year-old has become the PBA’s new Ironman, as he played his 597th consecutive game in Barangay Ginebra San Miguel’s clash with Magnolia Hotshots, surpassing the 596 games set by legend Alvin Patrimonio.
For Tenorio, being able to do so feels like a miracle.
“For me, malaking achievement sa akin ito. It’s not easy to do … And for me, it’s really a miracle. I consider this as a miracle sa buhay ko,” said Tenorio, who has been playing non-stop since 2002, or since his Ateneo Blue Eagles days.
“Thinking about it, my last injury was in 2002. So for the past seventeen years, I’ve been playing competitive basketball,” he recalled about the broken hand injury he sustained back in the 65th season of the UAAP.
“It’s really God’s gift na binigay sa akin. Ako yung pinili niya, sa milyon-milyong basketball players.”
Making the night even more memorable for Tenorio is that he achieved the feat in front of Patrimonio himself, who became the league’s Ironman when he surpassed the 270-game record of Dante Gonzalgo.
“I’m very honored na nasakto sa game namin ngayon na Manila Clasico. It’s a special treat not only for me but also for the fans. Inaabangan din nila ito, itong araw na ito, itong game na ito,” said Tenorio, who entered the league in 2006.
“Sinabi lang ni Boss Cap (Patrimonio) na, ‘Wag kang titigil maglaro, hangga’t kaya mo, maglaro ka.’ Ayun naman yung balak ko eh.”
Patrimonio’s record took 15 long years before it was broken, and Tenorio’s will likely stand the test of time as well. And his games played will keep adding up, as the 5-foot-9 floor general isn’t looking to stop playing anytime soon.
“Kaya pa. Thirty pa lang ako ngayon,” he quipped, “so may seven years pa ako, eight years, nine years. Hangga’t sa kaya ko makapag-compete. I’ll do it. and as much as I can kaya ko pa makatakbo, makapag-lead ng team, gagawin ko.”
But of course, Tenorio would want his record to be broken, too, in the future.
“Ako gusto ko may maka-break,” expressed Tenorio sincerely. “That shows na may mga players na tumitingala sa’kin and really trying their best to break the record. Ibig sabihin inalagaan talaga nila yung katawan nila.
“They tried to take care of their bodies all throughout their careers. Sana, sana, may maka-break. Gusto ko rin naman. I’m not that selfish na pagdadasal mo na may magkasakit, mainjure. Yun lang.”
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