Teng brothers match-up fuels UST-La Salle rivalryBy Celest R. Flores
Jeric and Jeron Teng, sons of PBA great Alvin, who grew up watching each other’s backs, may end up guarding each other.
“Walang kapatid, kapatid [There are no brothers here],” said 21-year-old Jeric, University of Santo Tomas’ trusty gunner who’s had the privilege of showing his worth in the league for the past three years.
“On the court, we don’t think we’re brothers anymore. We just have to win for our teams,” said Jeron, 18, La Salle’s blue-chip rookie—who, amid all the defeaning hype, did not disappoint in the pre-season. “Hindi kami magpapatalo sa isa’t isa [We won’t allow ourselves to be beaten by the other],” Jeron added.
That meeting, though, has yet to be seen as Jeric is takes on the shooting guard position while Jeron is at the number three spot.
Although it would have been ideal for them to be playing side-by-side, Jeric and Jeron believe otherwise.
“It’s more exciting when it’s against, we’re already together too much at home. So kapag sa basketball naman iba [it should be different in basketball],” said Jeron, who is younger and bulkier one.
“It’s more okay for us to play against each other, kasi magaagawan kami ng bola dahil pareho kami buwakaw [we will both be chasing after the ball because both of us are ball-hogs] ,” Jeric said, laughing.
And somehow there’s truth to that as Jeric’s role has always been to provide the points, while Jeron, who set a record for the most points in a high school game with 104 points, simply has that scorer’s mentality.
And when asked, if Jeron would have scored as much if his brother Jeric was guarding him, they had the same answer.
“He would have scored four points, maybe,” Jeric, a Miami Heat fan, joked. Jeron, an Oklahoma City Thunder supporter, on the other hand, was serious in saying, “Siyempre hindi [Of course not], because he’s known to be a defender.”
Both of them thrive on offense but Jeric and Jeron also take pride in defense like their father Alvin in the pro-league.
“Being a hardworker, we got that from our dad. He lacked the talent before so he really worked hard, especially in the rebounding,” said Jeric. “Namana namin yung [We inherited his] defense and intensity in the game.” And being a serious competitor must run in the blood, too.
“We hate losing,” answered Jeron and Jeric in unison when asked what their biggest similarity would be as a basketball player.
But past the expected rivalry on the court, expect the Tengs to have that routine family dinner.
“We always hang out together, we go one dates like movies,” said a smiling Jeric.“
We’ve been very supportive of each other eh. Pag may game siya, ibang teams kalaban, lagi ako nanunuod [If he has a game, and he’s competing with other teams, I always watch him]. We really help each other in terms of basketball,” said Jeron.
Jeric’s Rookie-Of-the-Year plum is a great inspiration, but Jeron admits it doesn’t put pressure on him to win the same.
“I really don’t think about individual achievements, I really just wanna help La Salle to win. If it’s really for me, darating na lang yun [that’s going to come]. But I don’t look [forward] to getting it,” said Jeron.
“My brother gives me advice, I listen to him, and I follow him,” Jeron added. “It works both ways, we help each other improve our game,” Jeric said.
The Growling Tigers and the Green Archers will meet twice in the double-round eliminations – and there’s a great chance both squads will face again in the playoffs.
The Tengs closeness is evident but come game time, winning is what matters most.