By Michael Angelo S. Murillo, Senior Reporter

NO longer a stranger to winning titles in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings floor general LA Tenorio is still amazed with his latest league championship, so much so he considers it as top one.

Mr. Tenorio and the Kings last week bagged the PBA Philippine Cup title after completing a gentleman’s sweep (4-1) of the TNT Tropang Giga in their best-of-seven finals series to drop the curtains on the league’s successful tournament “bubble” at Clark City in Angeles, Pampanga.

It was the sixth PBA championship for the Nasugbu, Batangas native but first All-Filipino title in his illustrious pro career to date. He was also named finals most valuable player, his fourth of such award.

For the Kings, it was title number 13 and first Philippine Cup crown after 13 years.

While all of his championships, Mr. Tenorio said, are special to him, the 2020 Philippine Cup championship — done and achieved in extraordinary circumstances because of the prevailing conditions with the coronavirus pandemic — makes it very special.

“After a long wait, yes, I’m happy to have it finally given to me. I consider this top one of all the championships that I have won. Aside from being the first All-Filipino [in my career], the way we won it made it special,” said the 14-year PBA veteran out of Ateneo, in an interview with The Chasedown television program aired on Saturday.

“Our journey was something else. First it was held under a bubble. We really had limited time to prepare entering it because practices only allowed four players at a time because of the pandemic. I had health issues (having to go undergo appendectomy prior to the bubble), and then the team only had seven days, I think, to scrimmage in the bubble before the tournament started. The schedule was tough because there was a point where we played back-to-back games. In the end, it was truly survival of the fittest and for us to be one of the two teams left and played in the finals and we won it made it very memorable,” he added.

Mr. Tenorio, 36, further shared that he nearly made the decision not to go to the bubble, where the league had participants holed up in the Clark City area for the two-month duration of the tournament to guard against the spread of the coronavirus, but eventually made the decision to take part in it.

“I was thinking of not going to the bubble prior because my wife just gave birth to our youngest child and I also had the surgery. I felt those were signs not to go. But after talking with team and league officials, my doctor, and with my wife allowing me to go because she believed that my team needed me in the bubble, I made the decision to go,” he said.

Mr. Tenorio went on to say that he is happy for the team as well, which sacrificed a lot in finding ways to win amid the challenges.

Moving forward, the Barangay Ginebra point guard said winning championships does not get old and that he would welcome every opportunity to play for a title each time.

But at this stage of his career, also important for him is being able to inspire others in what he does.

“At this point, it’s more than just winning. It’s not necessarily all about championships, but they are great to have. But I want to inspire more players, especially aspiring ones, to see me still playing at a high level and them going for it as well,” he said.