During Game One of the NCAA Season 95 Seniors Basketball Finals, LA Tenorio was playfully jeered by some of his batchmates from San Beda High School.
The former Red Cub currently serves as an assistant coach for San Beda’s bitter rivals Letran Knights.
“Yung mga ka-batch ko, nanood kanina. Humihingi nga ng ticket sa akin eh,” quipped Tenorio, who led San Beda to the Juniors crown in the Grand Old League back in 1999.
“Pero naiintindihan naman nila.”
Tenorio — who went on to play for Ateneo in college — admits he felt torn during the Finals. Though his mind is constantly thinking of ways on how to improve Letran, his heart will always bleed red.
“Weird feeling talaga, kami ni coach Rensy [Bajar],” admitted Tenorio, who is still going strong in his 13th year in the PBA. “Wala eh. Ganoon talaga ang buhay.
“It doesn’t matter kung nasa Letran ako, ‘di naman ibig sabihin na binabalewala ko na nag-San Beda ako. Nandoon pa rin ang pagiging Bedista ko.”
Just like his job as the lead guard for Ginebra, though, the 5-foot-9 floor general remains as dedicated to his other job as well.
“Siyempre all-out ako sa Letran kasi dito ko pinagtuonan ang oras ko eh. Kahit after practice, punta ako sa practice nila at games,” disclosed Tenorio, who was tapped by his good friend and Letran head coach Bonnie Tan to be part of his staff last February.
“Sobrang matutuwa ako ‘pag nakita ko ‘yung players na mag-succeed for all the things that has happened this season. It’s not for me, but for the players.”
For him, people should not judge him for the colors that he wears. All he wants to do is help groom the next generation of basketball stars.
And it doesn’t matter if that player is from Letran, San Beda, or any other school. It is about passing on knowledge, as he says.
“Pero nandito ako sa Letran, I’m part of the coaches and I’m here para tulungan ang mga bata. I think ‘yun ang mas importante sa akin ngayon. It’s not about me, it’s about the players.
“Gusto kong matulungan sila, ma-inspire sila to become better players and better person. It’s a weird feeling lang pero at the end of the day, trabaho din. Nandito ‘yung calling ko, to inspire aspiring basketball players,” shared the four-time PBA champion.
One of the student-athletes who has shown exponential growth under Tenorio’s watch has been Fran Yu.
Yu, who rarely had playing time a season ago, has become the hero of the Knights during their first three games in the post-season.
As their idol, Tenorio shared that he constantly messages Yu and the other backcourt members of the Knights to push them.
“Sobrang proud ako sa maturity ng bata sa lahat ng pinagdaanan nila. Not just for Fran, but all the guards, ‘yung maturity nila. Once in a while, nagme-message sila sa akin. Natutuwa naman ako kasi kahit paano, alam nilang nandoon ako to help them and to be part of their careers, lalo na ngayon,” he said.
Like a teacher, Tenorio still feels unsatisfied yet with Letran’s progress. He asserted that he will only praise them once they close the deal and win the Season 95 crown.
And they can do it on Friday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
“Masyado pa maaga para purihin ang players. Para sa akin, kailangan naming tapusin for me to really tell them na they’re matured enough na dalhin ‘yung team na ito.”
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