MANILA (UPDATED) -- Barangay Ginebra point guard LA Tenorio, the PBA's "Iron Man," has been diagnosed with Stage 3 colon cancer.
The 38-year-old guard revealed the diagnosis in a statement posted on the PBA's official website, Tuesday.
"I was recently diagnosed with Stage 3 colon cancer. The initial testing three weeks ago led me to instantly miss practices and games. I have completed my surgery last week and will soon undergo treatment for the next few months," Tenorio said.
Tenorio played in 744 consecutive games -- the longest streak in PBA history -- before sitting out against the Meralco Bolts last March 1. At the time, the team said Tenorio was still dealing with the abdominal injury that he suffered in the finals of the 2023 PBA Commissioner's Cup earlier this year.
Tenorio later said he intends to return for "Iron Man 2."
"I would like to issue a statement about my health status by firstly apologizing to my teammates, some coaches, the PBA, the fans, the media and even some friends. As most of you are aware I have been nursing a minor injury since the finals last January. I used that as the reason for my sudden absence. My sincerest apologies to all," Tenorio said in his statement on Tuesday.
"With my profession in sports tied to health and entertainment, it will be very difficult to keep the real reason a secret any longer and will only lead to unnecessary gossip, fake news and misinterpretations," he added.
Despite the cancer diagnosis, Tenorio stressed that he is "not yet retiring from the game that I love."
"With the help of the best doctors in the Philippines and Singapore, I believe I can touch a basketball once more and return stronger," he said.
Tenorio was the fourth overall pick in the 2006 PBA Rookie Draft by San Miguel Beer after a glittering collegiate career with Ateneo de Manila University. He has won eight PBA championships and is a four-time Finals MVP, while also winning Best Player of the Conference honors in the 2013 Commissioner's Cup.
"I have given not only 17 full years to the PBA, but have dedicated my whole life to basketball," said Tenorio. "I have committed my body and health for the love of the game. It has been my passion and love."
"Sadly, there are things beyond one's control. But with my faith, I am lifting everything to God now, and I believe there is a higher purpose as I go through this part of my life."
Tenorio also asked for privacy for himself and his family, while assuring that he "will see everyone very, very soon."
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