LA Tenorio and Marc Pingris said Monday night's visit by cage legend Robert Jaworski in Gilas Pilipinas practice was a huge “emotional boost” ahead of their campaign in the Fiba-Asia championships starting on Thursday.
Tenorio said he easily connected with Jaworski since he is now playing for Ginebra, the team which the Hall of Famer turned into the most popular in the PBA during his time as player and coach.
“Malaking bagay yung magsalita si the ‘Living Legend,' said Tenorio, who joined Ginebra at the start of the season. "Mataas ang respeto ko sa kanya kasi ako naglalaro sa Ginebra eh.
“Na-feel ko 'yung binuo niya sa Ginebra. Kasi kaya naman nagkaganoon ang Ginebra dahil sa kanya, yung never-say-die spirit ng Ginebra nanggaling talaga sa kanya,” he added.
Tenorio said Jaworski's tenacity and fighting heart are two things which Gilas hopes to emulate during the 10-day Manila showpiece that serves as qualifier for next year's world championships in Spain.
“Di ko siya naabutan sa prime niya, pero yung mga naririnig kong storya, very dedicated siya. Iyung puso at effort niya nandoon. Iyun ang kailangan talaga ng team kasi the international game won’t be easy, pero maganda yung sinabi niya na i-enjoy lang ang laro,” shared the 29-year-old Ginebra star.
On the other hand, Pingris said he was “star-struck” upon seeing Jaworski, who the San Mig star admitted he idolized growing up.
“Nabigla ako tapos natulala. Na-star-struck ako kasi idol ko siya,” said Pingris. “Malaking bagay yung sinabi niyang never say die. Kasi kapag sinabi niya kasing ganun, bigay mo na yung 100 percent pag naglalaro ka saka huwag ka gi-give up.”
The 6-5 Pingris said one thing that will set Gilas apart is its fighting heart.
“Malalaki ang kalaban namin dito, pero kami, puso na lang gagamitin namin. Tapos kailangan buo sistema namin sa loob ng court,” he said.