Rookie Teng rises up as La Salle withstands UPBy Celest R. Flores
MANILA, Philippines — Jeron Teng atoned for crucial misses from the stripe by knocking down a pivotal three-point play as La Salle endured a fiery University of the Philippines, 73-68, in the 75th UAAP men’s basketball tournament at Mall of Asia Arena.
Teng, one of the most touted rookies of his batch, shrugged off the ill effects on misfiring on crucial freethrows and powered his way for a go-ahead three point play, 70-68, with 27 ticks left.
“It was a tough win for us,” said head coach Gee Abanilla, who also coached his first game in the collegiate level. “I know Jeron, we know what he can provide. He just had some rookie jitters.”
Skipper LA Revilla corked the victory with two freethrows, after La Salle got a great break on defense when Yutien Andrada, returning from an ACL injury, soared high to block Jett Manuel’s attempt from downtown.
Teng finished 15 points on his first game in the UAAP, while Revilla churned out the same points along with 22 rebound, seven assists, and two steals.
“(Teng and Revilla’s) One-two-punch is very good, and we’re hoping to exploit this,” said Abanilla, whose squad nearly pulled away in the third quarter and lead by 15 points.
But La Salle remains a work in progress, squandering a 10 point lead entering the fourth quarter and losing it on a tough shot by UP’s Alvin Padilla with under a minute left.
“They (the Maroons) played really tough against us, they got a good job in easy points and did a good job in transition,” said Abanilla.
The Maroons weathered the Green Archers’ lead in the fourth quarter, slowly but surely, behind the efforts of Padilla, main man Mike Silungan, and rookie guard Henry Asilum.
Silungan set up the comeback with six straight points before five straight from Padilla finally gave the Maroons the lead, 68-67.
But UP failed to follow it up in the ensuing possession then allowed La Salle to go on a game-clinching 6-0 roll, absorbing its first loss.
Silungan scored 18 points and pulled five rebounds while Asilum added 12 points.