Make way for the new “Iron Man” of the Philippine Basketball Association.
LA Tenorio is set to play his 597th consecutive game Sunday night, shattering the league record for the longest string of games played without missing a single one.
“It’s a great achievement not only as a basketball player but as an athlete,” said the 34-year-old Ginebra guard, who has never missed a single game in his 13 seasons so far.
“Para sa akin, malaking achievement ito kasi lahat ng pinaghirapan ko (It’s a big achievement for me because everything I did) all throughout my career, not only in the PBA but also in high school, college –yung pinaghandaan ko para maging isang professional athlete — nasuklian (to become professional athlete has paid off). All the hard work, discipline, and sacrifices na ginawa, nagbunga (that I did paid off),” he added.
In fact, he has never missed a game since returning from a hand injury that forced him to sit out some games for Ateneo in 2002.
Interestingly enough, he will break the record right before the eyes of the current holder, Magnolia team manager Alvin Patrimonio.
Patrimonio never missed a single second in the last 596 games prior to his retirement in 2004, all while playing with the Hotshots franchise then known as the Purefoods TJ Hotdogs.
While Tenorio’s record-breaking stint will be the main highlight of the latest edition of the “Manila Clasico” at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City, both Ginebra and Magnolia have the quarterfinals in their minds ahead of their 6:45 p.m. clash.
Currently in fifth and sixth places respectively in the team standings, the Barangay and the Hotshots are looking to score a victory that will solidify their bid to make the Final 8 outright.
Ginebra, however, has another agenda in mind as it needs the win if it still wants to go for a Top 2 finish, which will give the team an incentive which comes in the form of a once-to-win advantage.
Phoenix already secured the first quarterfinal bonus with a win against San Miguel, leaving only Ginebra, Rain Or Shine, and TNT vying for the other Top 2 spot.
The Elasto Painters already finished their stint in the elimination round and can only hope for a loss from the Barangay and the KaTropa to lock in the other playoff incentive.
In the first game at 4:30 p.m., NLEX and Blackwater battle for survival.
A win will keep the bid of the Road Warriors and the Elite for a playoff spot alive.
But for Blackwater, a loss could mean outright elimination.