Still in contention for the Gilas’ Olympic qualifier roster after the announcement of the ‘Final 14’, veteran playmaker LA Tenorio takes pride in having the chance to represent the Philippines again in the international scene.
With gunner Marcio Lassiter, who’s still down with bronchitis, being the last cut in the 17-man pool, Tenorio joins fellow guards Jayson Castro and Terrence Romeo at the point in the rotation, that also includes Andray Blatche, June Mar Fajardo, Troy Rosario, Ryan Reyes, Ray Parks, Marc Pingris, Japeth Aguilar, Ranidel de Ocampo, and Jeff Chan.
“I’m very happy na somehow I get to represent the country again, kahit sa maliit na bagay, at least nakapaglaro ako,” said Tenorio to FOX Sports referring to their Iran tune-up game prior to the Final 14 decision that was made public by Gilas manager Butch Antonio in his personal Twitter account.
A veteran in international scene, Tenorio last played in the National’s bronze medal finish at the FIBA Asia Cup in 2014 before begging off to reinforce last year’s Asiad campaign due to poor form and fatigue.
“Whatever happens, I’m so thankful and honored sa opportunity na napasama ako rito, alam ng lahat yun, and di ko sinayang yung opportunity na yun,” shared the 2012 Jones Cup MVP.
Showing his worth at the right time, the 31-year old Tenorio turned clutch anew after nailing a gutsy floater to halt Gilas scoring drought in the 4th quarter that proved to be the rallying point in fending off Iran’s late game rally.
“That’s part of the strategy ni coach, actually yung group na nasa loob rin yung medyo nagpahabol eh, siguro rin makita ni coach Tab kung paano kami mag-bounce back,” he said, referring to their fightback in the end game.
“Testing of the character din ng mga players, buti nagrespond yung last 5 na nasa loob,” he added.
Tenorio and the rest of the national team members will leave on Friday for their Europe training camp before they make waves in the much-anticipated Olympic qualifying tournament here in Manila. – By Jason Mercene
Follow this writer on Twitter: @JasonMercenePH