LA stands for Lord Almighty

SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin M. Henson - The Philippine Star
LA stands for Lord Almighty
LA Tenorio.
STAR / File

Adversity has never been a hindrance in LA Tenorio’s basketball career. As a small guard in a big man’s game, LA turned his size into an advantage, disregarding what others would consider a handicap. He was quicker, smarter and deadlier from the outside than most. LA had a knack for making improbable shots, scoring on unimaginable reverse layups with a spinning twist of the ball, sinking teardrops off the wrong foot and knocking down clutch triples with a hand on his face. That was typical Tenorio.

But more than his basketball skills, LA won the admiration of fans by displaying the heart of a warrior. When he moved to Barangay Ginebra from Alaska in 2012, LA became the new symbol of the “Never Say Die” spirit. No matter the odds, no matter the hurdles, LA stood tall and left it all on the floor, game in, game out. No player in PBA history has seen action in as many consecutive games — 744 in 17 years. He is the ultimate Ironman. His presence on the court wasn’t only a thrill. It was an inspiration.

So when it was recently revealed that LA had been diagnosed with Stage 3 colon cancer at the age of 38, everyone knew if there was anyone who could beat the illness, it would be him. LA’s courage is legendary. His faith in God is unflinching. This is the biggest challenge of his life and LA will see it through as he has conquered every obstacle in his path over the years. LA stands for Lewis Alfred but it also stands for Lord Almighty and in his statement, he said, “I am lifting everything to God and I believe there is a higher purpose as I go through this part of my life.”

Early this month, LA underwent surgery in Singapore as doctors removed every trace of cancer in his colon. The cancer had not spread so doctors were able to isolate the infection. He had detected a problem when there was blood in his stool and a colonoscopy eventually confirmed the cancer. For the moment, LA’s cancer-free. Further treatment is necessary in the next few months to make sure he remains in the clear. “I believe I can touch a basketball once more and return stronger,” said LA. PBA commissioner Willie Marcial said with LA’s resolve and faith, he’s confident of a comeback perhaps as soon as in October when the next season begins. LA’s investment in a healthy body and lifestyle will pay off dividends in his road to recovery. 

In the NBA, the Brazilian player Nene was diagnosed with testicular cancer during the 2007-08 season, his sixth in the league, at 25. A malignant tumor was removed in an operation and two months later, he was back in action. Nene missed 37 games because of the cancer but bounced back stronger. The next season, he averaged a career-high 14.6 points and 32.6 minutes and received the Most Improved Player award. Nene went on to play until the 2018-19 season or over 10 years after his cancer was discovered. When LA returns to action in the PBA, it won’t be a first for a cancer survivor to play in a pro league. NBA legends Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Dikembe Mutombo also won their battles against cancer even in their late years. With God on his side and the whole nation praying for his recovery, LA will overcome for sure. Prayers up for LA.

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