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More Than Basketball: LA Tenorio hopes to inspire after triumph over cancer

LA Tenorio hopes to have inspired others following his much-awaited PBA return on Sunday night after several months of battling and beating cancer.

The 39-year-old played his first game back when Ginebra took on Terrafirma. And he showed that coming back wasn’t just about basketball, but to show that anyone going through the same ordeal he had could succeed, too.

“It’s really more than basketball already,” he told reporters moments after the Kings’ 110-99 win in Commissioner’s Cup action at the Philsports Arena.

“It’s not only inspiring a lot of aspiring basketball players, it’s more on sa mga taong na-experience o nakaka-experience ng meron ako, nung nagkaroon ako ng sakit,” added Tenorio, who played for 25 minutes and had six points.

“Hopefully na-inspire ko sila na as long as you’re always positive and grateful araw-araw, siyempre dasal lang, hindi imposible. Walang imposible sa dasal.”

The 17-year veteran was away for nine long months after his diagnosis with stage 3 colon cancer. He himself admitted that not being able to play again crossed his mind especially when he was undergoing treatment.

But instead of worrying, he set the game of basketball aside and completely focused on healing, with his wife and children in mind.

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(C) PBA Images

“While doing treatment I never thought of playing basketball talaga,” said Tenorio, who went to-and-fro Singapore for his chemotherapy sessions.

“I really focused on healing, on getting better, and getting back my health. Not because I want to play basketball. It’s really for my family – for my children, for my wife,” he added. “‘Yun ang naging focus ko. I really focused on healing.”

Fast forward to now, and Tenorio has found himself back doing what he loves most, with his friends and family in attendance at Philsports.

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“Halos kalahati ng tao riyan, akin,” he said, smiling. “I really invited them, everyone. Lahat ng tao. Kulang pa nga ‘yan, may UAAP lang eh kaya ‘di nakapunta ‘yung iba. I really invited them, inayos ko talaga for them.

“Gusto ko nand’on sila kasi they were part of my journey … ang invite ko sa kanila, hindi ‘yung, ‘Hope you can watch.’ Hindi. Sinabi ko sa kanila, ‘Dapat andun kayo, dapat hindi kayo mawala.’ I’m very thankful.”

Now that he has returned, Tenorio believes that he’s now serving another purpose not just as an athlete, but as a warrior in his own right.

“Siguro ‘yun din ‘yung purpose ko kung bakit pinabalik ako ng Diyos na makapaglaro. It’s more than basketball, na maka-inspire outside of the basketball community,” said the eight-time PBA champion.

“Sana, marami akong na-inspire na kayang lumaban. Kaya naman eh, really just stay positive and surround yourself with loved ones. And, don’t take anything for granted,” he added.

“‘Yun ang pinaka-importante.”

Written By

Oftentimes on the sidelines. Forever a student of the game. Morayta-bred.

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