MANILA, Philippines – It probably was not coincidence that Jeron Teng delivered his best scoring performance in the PBA just days after Alaska announced it will depart the league at the end of the season.
Teng showed how much he has bought into the Aces’ bid for a memorable last dance after dropping a career-high 30 points in a 102-97 comeback win over Terrafirma in the PBA Governors’ Cup on Saturday, February 19.
Norming just 11.7 points prior, Teng eclipsed his conference average in the final salvo alone by erupting for 14 fourth-quarter points as Alaska completed its fightback from a 20-point deficit.
“We just gutted it out. We knew how important this game is,” said the 27-year-old, with the Aces hiking their record to 5-2 to fortify their chances of clinching a twice-to-beat bonus in the quarterfinals.
“Every game, we’re inspired. We’re doing it for the Alaska company, of course for boss Fred (Uytengsu), and for all the players that played before us, the Alaska legends, the management, the coaches.”
Teng particularly shone in the final three minutes, where he scored 8 of the Aces’ last 9 points.
He beat out three defenders, including Dyip import Antonio Hester, for the go-ahead layup at 95-94 before sinking a pair of floaters in their next two possessions to give Alaska a 99-95 cushion.
The former fifth overall pick then put the game beyond reach by draining a free throw with seven seconds remaining for the final tally.
“He was prepared. When we put him at the spots where he was comfortable, we allowed him to kind of go a little bit,” said Aces head coach Jeff Cariaso.
“Good game by JT, and it was on both ends, he was also tremendous defensively.”
For Teng, it was just his way of repaying the trust given to him by Alaska, which has been his home since he entered the PBA in 2017.
“I’m forever grateful to be an Alaska Ace,” Teng said. – Rappler.com