Christmas is quite different in the Tenorio household this year.
For the first time, LA and his family did not spend the special day together. He’s here in Manila to fulfill his duties with Ginebra in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals, while his wife and kids are currently on vacation overseas.
“It was really a mix of emotions,” reflected the 38-year-old, “because this is the first time I will spend Christmas away from my family.”
He definitely would’ve loved to be with them but it isn’t lost on Tenorio that sacrifice is and will always be a part of their vocation as pro cagers. And at the same time, he looks at their situation as a blessing for the entire family.
“At the end of the day, it’s really a blessing. Blessing for the family na, they get to spend their vacation even without me and me, here, playing in the Finals, in front of thousands of fans during the Christmas season,” he offered.
“It’s really a blessing,” he continued. “Being a professional, this is part of our sacrifice. Every time we play in the playoffs, my family is supportive about it.
“They really allow me to focus on what I have to do every playoffs.”
Game One of the Finals took place on Christmas Day and Tenorio made sure that it would be even merrier for the whole Barangay. They took down Bay Area anew, 96-81, to seize the early lead in the best-of-seven series.
The 16-year vet starred in the victory with a conference-high 22 points, sparking the Kings’ second-quarter pullaway to take control of the game. He shot three treys and also added two rebounds, three assists, and three steals.
Such an outing — witnessed by over 18,000 fans at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay — was essentially him leading by example yet again as he did not want his team to get thrown off by the distractions of the Yuletide season.
Especially in a game as important as a Finals opener.
“Coming into this game, we have a Viber group. I told them (teammates) na we have to have the proper mindset coming into this game because we have a lot of distractions because of the Noche Buena, Christmas, being with family.
“Alam naman natin ang Christmas dito sa Pilipinas is really about family and gathering. That’s part of the sacrifice, the mindset coming into this game, the most important thing is to get this game,” said Tenorio after the match.
“It just happened that this is a Christmas game, but the most important thing is to really get Game One. This is very important for us,” he added. “In a lot of Finals appearances that I had, Game One is really important.”
Tenorio is bidding to win his eighth PBA title overall and he didn’t hide that it is his main goal this time around, wanting to win another gold once more to make the sacrifice of not being with his family during the Holidays worth it.
“Added motivation for me na hindi ako nakasama doon,” said the four-time Finals MVP.
“Might as well win this thing all the way, right?”
The second game of each PBA gameday is live-streamed on SMART Sports.