LA Tenorio says Gilas still a strong contender in Fiba-Asia even in mainstays' absence
LA Tenorio begged off from joining Gilas 3.0 citing fatigue and poor form. On Tuesday, the Ginebra guard refused to delve on the matter. Jerome Ascano

TOKYO – Even in their absence, LA Tenorio likes the chances of Gilas Pilipinas in the coming FIBA-Asia Men’s Championship.

The 5-foot-8 sentinel said NBA veteran Andray Blatche and a young, promising crop that currently comprise the national training pool make the Filipinos contenders for the lone berth allotted to Asia in the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Olympics.

“Oo naman,” when asked if Gilas has a shot at the championship even with him and the likes of June Mar Fajardo and Paul Lee unlikely to suit up for the team in the September 23 to October 3 meet in Changsha, China.

“Our team is very talented. Maraming talent kahit wala kami, especially mga bata.”

[See Tenorio begs off from Gilas citing fatigue, poor form]

Tenorio, Fajardo and Marc Pingris were all part of Gilas team which finished runner-up to Iran in the 2013 edition of the Fiba-Asia tilt that earned the country a return trip to the World Cup after a 36-year-absence.

Owing to poor form and fatigue, Tenorio earlier begged off from join ingthe Gilas team of coach Tab Baldwin, saying he doesn’t want to be unfair to the rest of the squad if he’s not able to fully contribute to its cause.

He refused to delve on the matter.

He was able to join the rest of the PBA board here for its annual planning session upon the invitation of Ginebra governor Alfrancis Chua, who was supposed to bring along his son but backed out at the last minute due to his studies.

[See Baldwin on SMC trio joining Gilas: 'I have hopes but no expectations']

Just like every basketball-loving Filipino, Tenorio said he also felt disappointed when the Philippines lost to China in the bidding rights for the hosting of the 2019 Fiba World Cup last week.

“Akala ko matsatsambahan, kaya nanghihinayang din,” said the point guard out of Ateneo. “Sayang, andun na e."

Follow the writer on Twitter: @gerardmos