IS LA Tenorio contemplating retirement?
Such speculations arose after the Barangay Ginebra guard, a PBA veteran of 13 years, showed up on the Petran-Letran bench to assume a new role in the coaching staff of Bonnie Tan.
But the 34-year-old court general assured everyone that his new coaching role isn't a prelude to retirement.
"Hindi naman. Nadagdagan lang ng trabaho," he said with a smile.
Tenorio said he is merely exploring another facet in his basketball career through Ginebra team governor Alfrancis Chua, who is concurrently a special assistant to the rector for sports at Letran.
The four-time PBA champion is no stranger to mentoring, teaching kids the game to kids for four years now through his clinics.
But the former Ateneo star guard insists this is different.
"It’s a different feeling lang kasi matatanda yung tinuturuan ko. They’re really aspring to be professional basketball players," said Tenorio, saying he finds fulfillment in helping young players realize their PBA dreams.
"I’m excited. It’s fun and very exciting na nagtuturo ng college players. Nakikinig talaga sila. As of now, sa career nila, ito yung time na they have to be fundamentally sound and maging ready sa big league which is the PBA. Kaya ako nandito, hopefully for them to improve and makatulong sila."
Tan appreciates how big of a contribution Tenorio can give to these young Letran team, especially on the heels of the graduation of leaders Bong Quinto and JP Calvo.
"He's full of experience, not just as a regular player but as a champion player. He's been through a lot of champion coaches from amateurs to pros. So definitely, he's an asset to the team at yung mga bata, gustong-gusto siya na kasama at makinig sa mga ini-impart niya sa practices at sa games," he said.
But it's not a one-way street. Tenorio also sees this as a learning opportunity for himself, working alongside Tan's staff which includes Lou Gatumbato, Raymond Tiongco, and RJ Guevarra.
"Actually, I’m learning also, not only because of coaching, but sa mga bata," he said.
"Yung priority ko pa rin is with Ginebra. Actually, minsan-minsan lang ako nakakapunta ng practice (ng Letran) kasi almost the same time ng practice (ng Ginebra). When I’m in practice, I make sure na maraming natututunan yung mga bata kasi sayang naman."
Tenorio's debut on Thursday ended in Petron-Letran's close 96-94 defeat to Che'Lu Bar and Grill in the 2019 PBA D-League.
For much of the game, Tenorio urged veterans Jerrick Balanza, Larry Muyang, and Jeo Ambohot to be poised in clutch situations. He later praised Balanza for having the guts to take the last shot.
"Yung mga veteran namin, sinasabi ko sa kanila na they really have to be composed sa endgame. This is a good experience sa kanila, itong liga na to. I keep on telling them to be composed and make sure na wag sila matakot magkamali," he said.
"The last shot of Jerrick is, for me, a sign of how big his heart is. Alam mo, matapang siya. Yun naman yung gusto naming makita."
Much as he's having fun working with the Knights, Tenorio insisted his main focus remains with the Gin Kings.
"Six years pa ako [maglalaro]," he assured with a smile.