MANILA, Philippines – There will be no stopping LA Tenorio from further cementing his status as the PBA's undisputed Iron Man after becoming the league's record holder for most consecutive games played.
Tenorio broke Alvin Patrimonio's long-standing record as he saw action in his 597th straight PBA game that ended in Barangay Ginebra's 97-93 overtime win over Magnolia in the 2019 Philippine Cup on Sunday, March 18.
The 34-year-old has not missed a match since he was drafted as the fourth overall pick in 2006, and he has no plans of letting his streak end.
"Hangga't sa kaya ko makapag-compete. I'll do it," Tenorio told reporters. "And as much as I can, kaya ko pa makatakbo, makapag-lead ng team, gagawin ko."
(As long as I can compete, I'll do it. And as much as I can run and lead a team, I'll do it.)
"Sabi ng mga teammates ko, 'Pahinga ka na, next year na uli.' Sabi ko, 'Hindi.' The more na I'll take care of my body, the more I'll do everything for me to keep going and compete."
(My teammates told me to rest and take the year off. I told them that I won't stop. The more that I take care of my body, the more that I'll do everything for me to keep going and compete.)
Since Patrimonio – one of the PBA's 40 Greatest Players – hung up his spurs in 2004, no one has ever came close to breaking his Iron Man record until Tenorio came along.
And Tenorio, whose Iron Man streak goes beyond his professional career as he last sat out a game during his time with the Ateneo Blue Eagles in the UAAP, could not help but describe his rarefied feat as a "miracle."
"I consider this as a miracle in my life. Thinking about it, my last injury was in 2002. So for the past 17 years, I've been playing competitive basketball," he said in a mix of Filipino and English.
"It's really a miracle and God's gift."
Now with every individual accolade he could probably hope for, Tenorio has his fingers crossed that Ginebra clinches the Philippine Cup title this season.
"Hopefully makuha namin 'yung championship na wala pa ako in my career: the All- Filipino championship. Sobrang blessed ko na talaga siguro 'pag nagawa ko."
(Hopefully we can win the championship that I haven't won in my career: the All-Filipino championship. I guess I'm super blessed if I can win that.) – Rappler.com
Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.