(Photo by Jamil Buergo/ Sports Gateway PH)
Big numbers are expected whenever De La Salle Green Archers superstar Jeron Teng plays.
However, in their Game One matchup against their archrivals, the Ateneo De Manila Blue Eagles, Teng managed to register, for his standards, a measely performance of 10 points with a pedestrian 5-of-13 shooting. It’s a far cry from his per game averages of 17.5 points and 42% field goal shooting.
In the end game though, along with Ben Mbala, Teng managed to salvage La Salle over a comeback-threatening Ateneo.
“Winning time e,” said Archers head coach Aldin Ayo. “Eto ‘yung mga sabi ko nga na pag end game, crunch time mga JT na beterano and syemrpe yung talent ni Ben– ‘di magpapatalo mga to e.”
Ayo, Mbala and Teng’s La Salle led for most of the duel until Ateneo came rampaging back and took the lead, 64-65, with 34 seconds remaining after a Matt Nieto and-one layup. The Eagles guard missed the bonus free throw though but managed to secure the offensive rebound, deflating the La Salle faithful.
Teng though wasn’t deterred. Afterwards, the burly forward streaked down court and managed to hit what would be the game’s clinching basket. “‘Yung basket siguro instinct nalang yun,” Teng said of the shot. “Ben did a good job sealing so I saw an opening. I think that’s why nakuha ko ‘yung layup.”
“‘Yung last huddle namin sabi ko, ‘Pare one year na nating ginagawa to, we’re one stop away from getting this Game One and it will depend on how we defend those guys.'” Ayo said to his players. “For sure they’ll go for the dribble penetration and they’ll challenge our individual capabilities in defending them.”
Teng took on and obliterated the callenge head on. With under 10 seconds remaining, he managed to block an Aaron Black jumper that could’ve been the game-winner for Ateneo.
“Dun sa stop kay Aaron wala talaga yun e, crunch time na ‘yun so parang adrenaline na ‘yun. Buti natamaan ko ‘yung bola and we had a stop,” said Teng. “I just had to step up. I wasn’t getting my flow in the game and kinailangan ko lang bumawi sa defense.”
In their next game on December 7, Wednesday at the Smart Aranet Coliseum, in what could potentially be the game where the UAAP Championship goes back to Taft, expect La Salle to not let up. They have to says Teng, because it’s not only for them but also for their fans.
“I told my other teammates that we had to play better. Better than this game cause parang kinabahan kami e. So dapat next game we play better and para din ‘di kabahan ‘yung mga nanunuod samin.”
As for his own game, Teng had one affirmation, “Next game, expect me to play better.”