April 14, 2024

'I was crying': LA Tenorio vividly recalls being traded by San Miguel to Alaska

Instagram/LA Tenorio

When LA Tenorio was drafted by the San Miguel Beermen as the fourth overall pick in 2006, many viewed him as the rightful successor to Olsen Racela.

Tenorio was coming off a sensational career with the Ateneo Blue Eagles. He was the best point guard in his draft class. He was more than ready to take the PBA by storm.

But after just one year and one conference with the Beermen, he was surprisingly traded to the Alaska Aces for his college rival Mike Cortez, who he described as "a beast" and "unstoppable" in the UAAP.

Tenorio said it caught him off guard, to say the least. 

"That I won't forget. Because that was Good Friday," recalled Tenorio on ClutchPoints Philippines' Let it Fly podcast. "At first, I was really shocked and really disappointed. I was really mad. All the players in San Miguel knew I'm gonna be the one who was (supposed to succeed) Olsen."

Tinyente said San Miguel stars Racela, Danny Ildefonso, and Danny Seigle called him and asked why he was traded. He said he had no idea.

Tenorio also admitted that he got emotional when he learned that he got shipped, the image of which has remained vivid for him. 

"I was crying. I was in a parking area in Katipunan because we were in one of the restaurants there. I was with Larry (Fonacier) because he got traded also (to Alaska). We got traded for Ken Bono and Mike Cortez. I was crying and Larry was laughing because he didn't play that much in San Miguel so he was happy he got traded," said Tenorio.

What also hurt Tenorio was that he won't be playing anymore with Racela, who was one of his biggest idols, along with Hector Calma and Johnny Abarrientos.  The childhood dream he achieved was suddenly snatched from him.

"Olsen was always teaching me. Watching him in practice and playing with him in practice (taught me a lot). For me, that was a dream come true," said Racela, adding that Racela already mentored him when he was still in Ateneo. "He was really my idol. What I do in practice now, how I play, it's exactly (like) Olsen."

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But alas, things worked out for the better for the floor general with the Aces. He blossomed under coach Tim Cone and won the first of his eight PBA titles in the 2010 Fiesta Conference. He was also named Finals MVP.

It was with Alaska where Tenorio truly became one of the superstars of the league. He became an All-Star, a Most Improved Player awardee, and a member of the Mythical Five. 

He has never looked back since. 

It was indeed Good Friday, after all.