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LA Sparks’ Cone Returns to PBA Floor with Unleashed Energy

Barangay Ginebra coach Tim Cone will not play the spoiler when LA Tenorio makes his eagerly-awaited Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) return.

“We have no restrictions for him. We will throw him out there and let him dictate how much time he gets,” he told the Inquirer on Friday, shortly after Tenorio took to Instagram his excitement in playing his first PBA game back from a sports hernia and a bout with colon cancer.

Tenorio will be suiting for the PBA Commissioner’s Cup defending champion Gin Kings when they battle the 2-3 Terrafirma Dyip Sunday at the refreshed PhilSports Arena in Pasig City, a fitting venue for, hands-down, the league’s most durable player.

An eight-time PBA champion with four Finals Most Valuable Player trophies in his collection, Tenorio set the PBA record for most games played consecutively at 744 games to earn the moniker “Ironman.”

He last played on Feb. 19, against Blackwater, in a 119-93 blowout at the same venue where he is set to stage his comeback.

“Truly grateful for another opportunity to play the game that I love,” Tenorio, wrote on Instagram. “Since my diagnosis, I have lifted everything to God, knowing that life is more than basketball and more than the game.

“I continue to search for a higher purpose and since then I have been striving to consciously live a life of positivity, appreciation, contentment, humility, and faith. I have been in remission for over two months now, and with God’s Healing Grace, my body has gone through surgery and cancer treatment with no adverse effects.”

Cone said Tenorio has been proving that he is more than primed for a return. And more than his ward’s trademark floater and sneaky passes, the Ginebra mentor is excited to see his control of the game back in action.

“He’s fit and ready to go. He’s been practicing with us for a month. We’re looking forward to having his leadership back on the floor,” he said.