LA Tenorio will celebrate his birthday up in the air, literally.
The Barangay Ginebra point guard turns 29 on Tuesday when Gilas Pilipinas departs for a 10-day trip in New Zealand consisting of a training camp and a six-game tune-up series against commercial teams and the New Zealand national squad.
“Oo, i-celebrate ko na lang sa eroplano, ganun talaga, may konting sakripisyo,” said Tenorio, who left the Mall of Asia Arena on Monday afternoon in a rush to catch up with wife Chesca and one-year-old son Santi.
He said they went out on a family date during the evening.
“Lumabas lang then siyempre, empake na din dahil aalis na agad ng Tuesday,” Tenorio said shortly after Gilas’ final practice before its New Zealand departure.
But his national teammates and coaches didn’t let Tenorio go without greeting him a happy birthday and presenting a surprise chocolate cake which the team later ate at center court.
Tenorio said the team’s New Zealand trip is a big blessing in itself since it gives the nationals the opportunity to be in game shape after their failure to travel to Chinese-Taipei and defend the Jones Cup basketball crown.
“Mindset namin mag-improve lang. As much as possible, play quality tune-up games para makapag-prepare kami this August. Maganda ang magiging competition dun sa New Zealand. That will prepare us (for the Fiba-Asia meet),” said the PBA Philippine Cup Best Player of the Conference.
The national team will play against four clubs from the National Basketball League, followed by a game against the NBL’s All-Star selection, before winding up with a match against New Zealand’s national squad known as the Tall Blacks.