GINEBRA playmaker LA Tenorio said he can't wait to get back together with his Gilas Pilipinas teammates and rekindle the "magical camaraderie" which he said had been one of the keys to the team's successful run in the last Fiba-Asia championships in Manila.
Tenorio and the other members of the Gilas team that finished runner-up to Iran in Manila gather once again on Monday at the PhilSports arena for once-a-week practices as they begin preparations for the Fiba World Cup in Spain six months from now.
Now the former Ateneo star is excited to meet up with the other nationals again - not as adversaries in the PBA but as teammates fighting for one goal.
"'Im very excited to attend practice again for Gilas saka excited to see my teammates again," Tenorio told Spin.ph on Sunday after the Gin Kings' weekend practice.
Tenorio, the 2012 Jones Cup MVP, said the strong bond Gilas players were able to forge during their training camp in Lithuania as well as their series of tuneup matches in New Zealand had a lot to do with the splendid performance they were able to pull off in Manila.
"Everyday we're together. Memorable sa akin iyun kaya I think successful kami last Fiba Asia kasi iba ang samahan ng team namin," recalled the veteran guard.
Gilas coach Chot Reyes said the first day of practice will involve a walk through of the national team's basic plays, though it will also be an opportunity to welcome the three new members of the 17-man pool.
Outside Reyes' "Fighting 12" that brought the country back to the world championships for the first time since 1978, now part of the pool are Rain or Shine guard Paul Lee, Meralco's Jared Dillinger and San Miguel Beer shooter Mario Lassiter.
Also recalled to the pool were Rain or Shine's burly big man Beau Belga and Ginebra's rookie center Greg Slaughter, the two last cuts before last year's Fiba Asia showpiece.
Of the three new faces, Dillinger is actually also a 'returnee' having joined Gilas during a tournament in Japan back in 2012.
Reyes said Gilas remains focused on its goal of winning at least two games in the preliminaries in order to get an opportunity to advance to the round of 16 in the Fiba World Cup showpiece.