Cancer sucks.

One way or another, the disease has affected everyone, whether it be a friend, family member, or even oneself.

That it happens to the PBA’s Iron Man doesn’t make it any less close to home.

By now, you may have heard about LA Tenorio’s cancer diagnosis, which pretty much shocked the Philippine basketball community. Tenorio had been initially sidelined since March 1 reportedly due to sports hernia, but the 10-time PBA All-Star later explained in a statement that he underwent surgery and will continue to undergo treatment in the coming months. Things seemed to have happened so quickly, but that quick response may have very well saved his life.

News that Tenorio was recently diagnosed with Stage 3 Colon Cancer spread last Tuesday afternoon and immediately an outpouring of support from teammates both current and from the past, coaches, fans, and even those not so familiar with the sport flowed in. Just how significant has the news been? A search through twitter for Tenorio’s name should provide more than enough answers.

While Tenorio had slowly ceded much of the playmaking duties to the likes of reigning PBA MVP Scottie Thompson, Jaime Malonzo, and even Justin Brownlee in recent seasons, he has nonetheless been a valuable presence to the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings. This is, of course, on top of his status as one of the most beloved Filipino point guards during his amateur days, at the professional level, and with Gilas Pilipinas.

As one of the elder statesmen on the team, Tenorio provides advice for the Gin Kings’ up and coming players, while providing stability on the court when need be. Experience is the best teacher and as a point guard, he has become an extension for Ginebra head coach Tim Cone on the court in sharing his knowledge.

Production from the eight-time PBA champion, who will end this season with averages of 7.8 points, 2.0 rebounds, and 3.6 assists across all conferences, has thus been gravy. That’s not to discount his highlights this season, one of which was when he dropped 22 points in the Gin Kings’ 96-81 Game 1 of the 2022-2023 Honda PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals.

Although Tenorio’s streak of most consecutive PBA games played has ended, he has not considered retirement and will continue to complete his treatment, all in the hope of returning to the court one day. In the meantime, the four-time PBA Finals MVP will still be on the sidelines reportedly as an assistant, cheering and offering advice to his Ginebra teammates.

Basketball aside, Tenorio’s diagnosis was not only big news, but it opened a lot of eyes when it came to health. The big C can be daunting and this puts things into perspective, especially when it comes to how life can throw you things when you least expect it.

As an athlete, Tenorio gets access to health resources not a lot usually tap into and the fact that someone like him was hit with cancer only emphasizes how the disease does not choose its victims.

If there is any silver lining from all of this, spreading awareness for cancer is one. Another, and one that is as valuable is how Tenorio has responded to what was thrown at him. The Batangas native is facing this challenge head on and sets a great example for those around him. This is one of those times when one can either fight or flight, and he has chosen the former. Not all of us will face cancer in our lifetime, but we can learn how to respond to the daily pinpricks of life through him.

LA Tenorio is currently facing an obstacle he has never encountered before, but it doesn’t mean it’s something he can’t overcome. Everyone is rooting for Tenorio as he faces his toughest opponent yet and even when the odds may seem stacked against him, best believe that The Tinyente will put up one big fight.