Bonifacio High Street
October 1, 2013
This is perhaps the first time in the history of collegiate basketball in the Philippines that two brothers are facing each other in a finals. On this case, its the UAAP Season 76 championship. A best-of-three series that opens on Wednesday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum. And I’m referring to La Salle’s Jeron Teng and his elder brother, Kuya Jeric from University of Santo Tomas.
On this one humid night somewhere in the Bonifacio Global City, Jeron, Jeric and their parents, former PBA star Alvin Teng and wife Susan, held a mini presser attended by some of the country’s leading print and online sportswriters including yours truly, the friendly neighborhood Sportsmaryosep. Plus some television people. It was a simple question-and-answer portion that lasted about a little over an hour. We got to pop the questions that we want to ask. From the mundane to the matters concerning the rudiments of the game to serious business.
And the Teng family had a lot to say. Particularly the brothers Karamazov. I mean Teng. Pardon me, Mr. Fyodor Dostoyevsky. I got to throw a question on how physical Jeron and Jeric could get once they end up guarding each other in crucial situations, which is a likely possibility considering that they’re not that different in terms of size and bulk. Jeric says they’ve played each other since they were kids, both as teammates and competitors alike. And they haven’t held back when they played one on one, which is a lot considering they’ve been brothers for nearly two decades. “Lagi naman kami physical sa isa’t-isa. Minsan nga nagkakapikonan pa kami,” says Jeric. For Jeron, he says he’ll guard his brother if it boils down to the last shot. “Yes, I will guard him and deny him the ball,” he says. “Kevin will probably guard him in the crucial moments,” Jeric responds referring to his teammate Kevin Ferrer.
Both Jeron and Jeric stresses also they will not take it against their teammates if and when one of them get accidentally hurt. “As long as its just physical and not dirty, I guess that’s okay because this is basketball, its a physical game,” says Jeric.
As for the parents, the Tengs are cautious in making statements about which team will win the crown saying they’re split on the matter. “Alvin and one of our daughters will sit behind Jeric, my other daughter and I will sit behind Jeron para walang away,” says the Teng matriarch. “May the best team wins,” the man old guys like us call The Robocop for obvious reasons.
As for their PBA idols, Jeric and Jeron idolizes San Mig Coffee’s James Yap. NBA? Jeric is crazy of LeBron James while Jeron has gone ga-ga with Kevin Durant. Interestingly, Jeric as a senior and Jeron as a rookie played together at Xavier where they won a championship. “Since sya mas matanda, natatandaan ko lagi nya ako pinapasahan,” recalls Jeron.
As for fearless forecasts, Madam Auring-style, Jeric thinks it will last only two games while Jeron expects the series to go the distance.
Both Jeric and Jeron think this is probably the first and only time in their collegiate lives they’re going to play each other in a finale so they will not let this one golden chance pass. And its all because of the bragging rights. “He will probably brag about this for the rest of our lives if I lose to him,” says Jeric. “Kelangan manalo ako, kung hindi baka sa PBA na ulit ako makabawi sa kanya,” says Jeron.
What struck me the most is when Jeron apologizes to Jeric in advance after announcing La Salle will win the title. “I keep saying sorry in advance because we will win the championship,” says Jeron. Jeric has these answer: “Sinasabi lang nya yun para mawala nerbyos nya, kinakabahan siguro sya kaya nya sinabi yun. Tignan natin sa Wednesday.”
And we have a war over here.
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(Photos courtesy of Paul Ryan Tan and Aileen Palero)