Ginebra’s LA Tenorio locked in to regain his Gilas spot

LA Tenorio is on a mission to gain a spot Gilas Pilipinas’ final 12 after failing to play for the national team during last year’s William Jones Cup and Fiba-Asia men’s championships in Changsa, China.

The diminutive Ginebra point guard said after taking several weeks off from basketball, he has started working out to regain his conditioning, aware that the resumption of Gilas’ training won’t be a piece of cake.

Gilas resumes its training on Wednesday at the Meralco gym, where the national players are scheduled at 1-4 p.m.

“Bale last week nag-start na ako mag-work out, saka naglalaro ng pick-up games with friends para di naman ganun ka-rusty,” Tenorio told FOX Sports on Tuesday.

“Pukpukan na kasi iyan (starting Wednesday) kasi ganun naman ang practice kay coach Tab (Baldwin),” he added.

Tenorio said since missing the chance to play for Gilas last year, he has made it a personal goal to earn his spot this year, hopeful that he could contribute to the country’s bid for an Olympic spot in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

But Tenorio will certainly need to work hard to earn his spot, considering the talent-rich guard spot in the national pool that also includes Jayson Castro and Ryan Reyes of Tropang TNT, GlobalPort’s combo guard Terrence Romeo, Rain or Shine’s Paul Lee and the recent addition of amateur standout Bobby Ray Parks, who is fresh from a stint with the Texas Legends in the NBA D-League.

“Para sa akin, malaking bagay itong chance na binigay uli sa akin ni coach Tab at mga coaching staff kasi nga di naman ako nakalaro sa Gilas last year. So personally, di ko sasayangin itong opportunity na ito and bibigay ko best ko,” Tenorio said.

The 5-foot-10 Tenorio explained that the Philippines is now in the world map of basketball after Gilas’ silver medal finish in the 2013 FIBA Asia men’s championships in Manila, followed by its gutsy performance against top-level opponents in the 2014 Fiba World Cup in Seville, Spain.

“Para sa akin, malaking bagay yung paglaro natin dito (FIBA OQT), kasi parang mini-Olympics na itong tournament,” shared the 31-year-old PBA veteran playmaker.

“In a way, different experience ito for the Filipinos, kasi di lang mga Asian teams ang mapapanuod nila, kundi world-class players ang maglalaro sa bansa natin,” he added.

Tenorio averaged 6.2 points, 1.6 rebounds and 1.2 assists for Gilas in the 2014 world championships, where the Filipinos ended the country’s 40-year winless dry spell with an 81-79 overtime win over Senegal at the close of the preliminary round. – By Richard Dy

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