DESPITE seeing his long-standing PBA record get broken on Sunday night, Alvin Patrimonio believed there should be more LA Tenorios in our midst to serve as an inspiration to all Filipino athletes.
As he passed the Iron Man baton to Tenorio at halftime of the Barangay Ginebra-Magnolia Philippine Cup game, the four-time MVP also encouraged players around the league to emulate the work ethic of the veteran point guard.
“Thankful ka kay LA dun sa ginawa niyang record para gayahin at ma-inspire yung younger generation of athletes natin na alagaan yung katawan para maka-perform ng maganda,” said ‘The Captain’ at the end of the Kings' 97-93 overtime win over Magnolia.
The game was a special night for Tenorio after playing his 597th straight game in Asia’s first ever play-for-pay league, surpassing the 15-year mark (596) held by Patrimonio since 2004.
Just before the third quarter began, Tenorio was honored in a short ceremony wherein the game ball was presented to him by no less than Patrimonio, accompanied by Commissioner Willie Marcial and senatorial candidate Bong Go, a friend of the former Ateneo stalwart.
‘The Captain’ gave ‘El Tinyente’ a snappy salute before handling him the basketball, symbolic of Tenorio finally becoming the new record holder for most number of consecutive games played in the league.
Patrimonio said Tenorio deserved the award, pointing out that the 34-year-old guard launched the record right from the very start of his pro career in 2006.
“Whereas yung ako middle of my (career) ko na ginawa yung consecutive games,” he recalled of the mark he set by suiting up for non-stop for Purefoods from Oct. 20, 1992 up to Oct. 29, 2004.
Patrimonio’s record ended upon his retirement.
The 52-year-old current Magnolia team manager previously broke the old mark of 280 straight games held by Barangay Ginebra guard Dante Gonzalgo, who did it from March 22 1987 to July 18, 1991.
In as much as Patrimonio believes Tenorio will continue to extend his own personal record, he also likes to see that someone from Magnolia be the next one to surpass what LA did.
“Ang ganda ng trend e,” he noted. “Ginebra, Purefoods, tapos Ginebra. Sino kaya yung next? Dapat sa Purefoods.”
Well, he just might be right.
Magnolia guard Mark Barroca is the next logical candidate after Tenorio as the Hotshots guard has played in 395 consecutive games since entering the PBA in 2011.