For LA Tenorio, the Gilas Pilipinas team that saw action in the 30th Southeast Asian Games is a special one.
Well, it really is one. It featured 12 of the finest players the PBA has to offer, bannered by reigning five-time league MVP June Mar Fajardo, and was mentored by the league’s winningest coach with 21 titles in Tim Cone.
It was special for Tenorio not because of its starpower, but rather how that collection of talent set aside their egos for the greater good. And that ultimately led to them helping the Philippines extend its reign as kings of the region.
Tenorio and Gilas snagged the gold medal after decimating Thailand by 34 points, 115-81, Tuesday night.
“This team is very special also because itong team na ‘to, full of superstars na nagsama-sama, sinet aside namin ‘yung ego ng bawat isa. We’re very unselfish sa ginawa namin dito,” he said.
“Hindi kami nagsapawan which is ‘yung goal namin.
“‘Yun ‘yung sinasabi ni coach Tim, na we don’t have to be an all-star team. So our goal is aside from getting the gold medal, is really ‘yung pagiging special ng team na ‘to after this SEA Games,” added the veteran internationalist.
The Barangay Ginebra star also said that he feels grateful to have played and been part of this team.
“This is one of the most special teams na nasalihan ko rin. Kilala naman natin mga nakasama natin sa team. Ang sarap ng feeling na nakalaro ko sila. Most of them, first time kong nakasama. And it’s been a great ride from day one,” Tenorio expressed.
“‘Yun naman ‘yung sinabi ko sa kanila — I’m very grateful na nakasama ko sila.”
The Philippines’ gold in this year’s edition was, in a way, a foregone conclusion. And the team made up of bona fide stars in the pro ranks who accomplished the feat will definitely be remembered for years to come.
But for Tenorio, the team is memorable not for how it dominated the field, but for how it became a unit.
“This team will be remembered for sure kahit na sabihin ng tao na automatic naman ‘yan kasi SEA Games naman ‘yan. It’s not about that. It’s about being special as a group and being a part of this group.”