After missing the FIBA Asia Men’s Championship, LA Tenorio is hell bent on returning to the national team for a shot at a dream stint in the Rio Olympics.
An extra motivation is a dream duel against his long-time idol Tony Parker of France.
“Sobrang idol ko ‘yun (Parker) dati pa eh. After Michael Jordan, siya na inidolo ko,” Tenorio told FOX Sports on Monday night.
The Barangay Ginebra point guard idolized the San Antonio Spurs cerebral playmaker so much that he borrowed one of his signature moves.
“Sa kaniya ko nga kinuha ‘yung tear drop shot ko eh. College pa lang ako pina-practice ko na talaga ‘yun,” Tenorio said.
“Hopefully, I can play against him pero siyempre depende pa rin ‘yun since wala pa tayong Final 12. If not, I’m looking forward to see him play here in the Philippines,” he added.
In the last FIBA World Cup, Tenorio had his best game against another pint-sized NBA point guard in JJ Barea of Puerto Rico.
Pumped up against the Dallas Mavericks’ playmaker, Tenorio hit 13 of his tournament-best 18 points on a perfect 5-of-5 shooting in the 1st half.
But Barea got the better of their showdown as he struck hard in the endgame for 30 points to lead Puerto Rico to a come-from-behind 77-73 victory.
That gallant stand against the NBA veteran is one of the best moments in Tenorio’s basketball career. Now, he’s got a chance to add another one.
“I’m sure I’ll be challenged and motivated to play against him (Parker),” Tenorio said.
Gilas will play France in the tournament opener on July 5 then New Zealand the following day needing at least a split to get a shot at advancing to the knockout semifinals.