July 28, 2014
In one of those rare days, this side of the University belt looks like a ghost town. At 3 p.m., there were surprisingly few vehicles. Gone was the bumper-to-bumper traffic that this part of the Earth near the Malacanang Palace used to have. No rallies either. Of course, every leader in town are in Batasan where the State of the Nation Address (SONA) was being done. I will not go to the specifics of SONA because there are none to discuss. Sports specifically since our dear P-Noy just flatly didn’t care.
So here I was along with our veteran Philippine STAR photographer and National Press Club board of director Jun Mendoza traversing this road most travelled on our way to The Arena in San Juan to cover Season 90 NCAA basketball games. During our travel, however, I as thinking more of the UAAP and its Season 77. Particularly the UAAP Press Corps’ Player of the Week. You see, there was some musings that National U’s Troy “The Prayer” Rosario should get the weekly plum bestowed by the group covering the league. But La Salle’s Jeron Teng silenced them all with a pair of heroic performances.
It used to be that Teng blows away his opponents with his high-scoring game. Not this season as he has turned into a more LeBron James mentality by passing it more than being a Kevin Durant or a Kobe Bryant who likes to kill opponents by scoring the big baskets. So Teng has turned LeBron on us. And I will leave this story by the Press Corps tell us why. So here goes.
JERON Teng’s willingness to share the leather has been paying big dividends for defending champion La Salle.
Determined to fill up the slack left by injured starting playmaker Thomas Torres, the 6-foot-2 wingman proved he’s more than just a scoring option as he also thrived on his playmaking ability while helping the Green Archers get their title-retention bid back on track in the UAAP Season 77 men’s basketball tournament.
With the 5-foot-8 Torres sidelined by a fractured right foot for at least six weeks, Teng, 20, has taken upon himself to set up the tables for his teammates and they were amply rewarded with a pair of thrilling victories against two erstwhile unscathed rivals—National U and host University of the East—to stop an alarming start and put themselves back in the hunt with an even 2-2 record.
“That (playmaking) is what our team needs right now,” said Teng, who was adjudged the UAAP Press Corps-Accel Quantum Plus/3XVI Player of the Week from July 23 to 27. “Anyone can score for our team. We just try to look for the open guy and also improve our team chemistry.”
Although he struggled to hit his mark from the field, making just three of his 11 attempts to finish with nine points, Teng came up with a game-high five assists, highlighted by his nifty inbound feed to a cutting Archers forward Jason Perkins who then made the insurance bucket with 6.7 seconds left that eventually led to a 57-55 squeaker against the Bulldogs last Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Not yet done, Teng spiked his season-high 18-point performance in their equally pulsating come-from-behind 60-58 victory over the Red Warriors last Sunday with a team-best four dimes, including a pair of timely drop passes to rookie Prince Rivero in the crunch that led to clutch buckets and helped them complete their gritty fightback from 10 points down.
“In the end, we were just trying to look for the open guy. I created for our team and I found Prince open (underneath) so I just gave it to him,” he stressed.
Teng beat out the likes of National U forward Troy Rosario and Far Eastern U guard Mike Tolomia for the weekly citation backed by Bactigel hand sanitizer, Doctor J Mighty Alcohol and Mighty Mom Anti-bacteria.
Sportsmaryosep’s prognosis: See? So can we call Jeron LeBron Teng now?
Follow Sportsmaryosep on Twitter: @JoeySVillar