MANILA, Philippines – It seems like Saturday action in the Filoil Flying V Preseason Hanes Cup is more than just an ordinary game day.
It’s going to be a family affair as brothers Jeric and Jeron Teng lock horns for the first time in the basketball court when the UST Growling Tigers face the De La Salle Green Archers.
And as if that’s not enough, coach Eric Altamirano’s National U Bulldogs face the College of St. Benilde Blazers, whose roster features the coach E’s son, Anton.
“Nakakailang [awkward]. That’s the only way I can describe it,” said Altamirano.
Former PBA superstar Alvin Teng will also find the experience something new. UST’s Jeric and La Salle’s Jeron were teammates in high school before college saw them parting ways.
“Sana hindi magkabantayan yung dalawa [I hope they won’t be defending each other],” the elder Teng said.
The Bulldogs are currently sitting atop of group B standings, undefeated in four games and seeking win No. 5 against the 0-1 Blazers.
Bobby Ray Parks, Emmanuel Mbe, and shooter Mark de Guzman have all been a revelation for the Bulldogs in the preseason, something that makes coach Eric optimistic of what they can accomplish in the UAAP.
“Every game here in the preseason counts. It’s a gauge on how we can improve as a team before the UAAP season,” he said.
The 18-year-old Anton had a forgettable debut in his first game for the Blazers, failing to chip any point for the Blazers with his dad watching from the rafters.
“I also felt frustrated when they lost,” he added. “I just told him that he has to play hard, play smart, and play his role in every game.”
Of course, the father-son thing takes a backseat when both their teams play.
“For me, it’s all about the team. I have to focus on what we have to do to win, and he [Anton] has to do what coach Richard [del Rosario] wants him to do,” Coach Eric said.
Jeron, the blue-chip rookie for the Green Archers, said that this would be his first time facing his older brother, and it doesn’t look like Alvin is going to get his wish of both brothers staying off each other’s radar.
“I am super excited,” he said. “We play the same position so we’re probably going to guard each other.”
“Mas magaling sya [Jeron] sa akin [He’s better than me],” Jeric chuckled.
When it comes to whose side the family would root for, Jeric said, “Wala namang lamangan pagdating doon.”
“It’s not much of an issue. All is fair,” added Jeron.