Fielded back into the game during the highly tense juncture, La Salle star wingman Jeron Teng immediately made his presence felt as he fearlessly attacked his way to the basket for a gutsy lay-up against a pair of National U defenders.
Then he followed it up by backing his way down against Bulldogs top defender Reggie Morido, putting the Green Archers ahead for good.
The 6-foot-2 Teng’s killer instincts came to the fore on Sunday when he powered La Salle to a 75-66 victory over National U to remain the lone unbeaten team in the UAAP Season 79 men’s basketball tourney at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
On the verge of fouling out after picking up his fourth foul midway in the third canto where the Green Archers trailed by as many as nine points, Teng checked back with more than seven minutes to play in the final frame and proved to be sharper over the entire Bulldogs.
“Instinct lang siguro ‘to,” said Teng on his fourth-quarter brilliance where he fired eight of his game-high 23 points, providing the spark in La Salle’s 21-9 finishing kick, leading to their fourth straight victory in as many starts.
“Sinasabi lang sa amin ni coach (Aldin Ayo) na look for mismatches,” he added.
“We know our strength is at the post with Ben (Mbala) and Abu (Tratter). But we felt na masiyadong nagka-clog ang
depensa ng NU du’n.”
Teng added he also decided to play smarter in the crunch to avoid an early exit.
“I gotta play honest defense para mas makatulong pa ako,” the senior forward explained.
How the Green Archers struggled against the erstwhile unscathed Bulldogs suggests that they still have a lot of room for improvements, admitted Teng.
“For us, a win is a win. Although we have lots more to improve on, we’re happy we got this win. We’ll improve from here,” he said.
Teng added he also intends to make the most of his final year with the Green Archers, whom he helped win the coveted prize back in 2013.
“Every year is really different. Ine-enjoy ko lang and just living my dream of playing for La Salle,” he concluded. – By Jerome Lagunzad
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