LA Tenorio vividly remembers the last time he failed to suit up in a game.
It was in the 2002 UAAP season when Tenorio was still with Ateneo and had the likes of Enrico Villanueva, Larry Fonacier, Wesley Gonzales, and Rich Alvarez for teammates.
“I got injured with a fractured hand. And then I went back during the Final Four,” recalled the Barangay Ginebra point guard. “That was the last time na naaalala ko na nagpahinga, practice or games. Yun na ang naaalala ko. I don’t remember missing any more games.”
He hasn’t stopped playing since then.
Seventeen years after, here now is the 34-year-old Tenorio tying the PBA’s all-time record number of 596th consecutive games held by the great Alvin Patrimonio when he saw action in the Kings’ Philippine Cup game against Phoenix Sunday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The 'Iron Man' feat simply amazed Tenorio who himself couldn’t believe he hasn’t missed a single game yet since turning pro in 2006 as the first round pick (fourth overall) by San Miguel.
“It’s a great achievement not only as a basketball player but as an athlete. “Para sa akin malaking achievement ito kasi lahat ng pinaghirapan ko all throughout my career, from high school to college, pinag-handaan ko para maging isang professional athlete,” he said.
“Parang nasuklian. All the hardwork, the discipline, all the sacrifices na ginawa mo, nagbunga.”
The native of Nasugbu, Batangas will set the new league record for the most number of consecutive games played by Sunday when Barangay Ginebra battles old rival Magnolia.
“Hindi ko nga alam kung maglalaro ako nun,” kidded ‘El Tinyente.’
Seriously speaking though, Tenorio, who admitted not having any rituals or practices to maintain his playing health, said he to play more games as long as he can.
“I’m willing to do it. It doesn’t matter kung anong number (of games) as long as I can play, I will play,” he said. “Hopefully yung legacy na maiiwan ko dito sa PBA o sa propesyon natin, maging inpirasyon ako especially sa mga aspiring basketball players.
“Para makarating sa ganung sitwasyon, it takes a lot of sacrifice, hardwork, and discipline.”
Making the night special was the Kings’ thrilling 100-97 win over the league-leading Fuel Masters in which Tenorio showed the way for the Kings with 23 points on 4-of-8 shooting from three-point range, while playing a total of 38 minutes – the most for the entire Ginebra team.
The Kings improved their record to 4-3 overall and still have a shot of landing in the Top 2 at the end of the eliminations.
As history beckons for Tenorio, he only has one wish for himself.
“I always thank the Lord everyday. Whatever happens, win or lose, as long as we’re all safe, I always pray na ganun ang magiging result,” he said.