UAAP: Teng saves best for last, lifts La Salle to 9th crown
JERON Teng ended his season and collegiate career with a bang.
His big show had the La Salle Green Archers returning as champions last night in the 79th University Athletic Association of the Philippines men’s basketball tournament.
Teng hit a career-high 28 points for the second time this season and added three rebounds to earn the Finals’ MVP honors as he led the Green Archers to a 79-72 subduing of the Ateneo Blue Eagles at the Araneta Coliseum.
The 6’2” Teng, who made good his promise to help his team win its ninth championship overall, struck hardest in the first half as the Green Archers went on the attack right away.
They nursed an early 10-7 advantage in the final six minutes of the first period and with Teng hitting 10 points in the first 10 minutes, the Green Archers had little trouble moving away, 22-16, at the end of the period.
“I was not thinking about it (the championship). I just wanted to win the championship. Alam kong mahirap. Parating pressure. Magagaling ang mga coaches. Iba-ibang challenges ‘yung pinapasok sa game. Kaya hindi na ako nag-iisip kung ano ang maa-accomplish. I just want to win the championship. That’s all,” said coach Aldin Ayo after he led La Salle to a two-game sweep of its best-of-three series against Ateneo.
Ayo also coached the Letran Knights to an NCAA crown last season at the expense of the San Beda Red Lions.
Having made only 10 points when they took Game 1 with a 67-65 victory in the start of their best-of-three finals series, Teng led La Salle’s offense in the second period.
He unloaded nine points in the second frame and La Salle went on to grab a 33-23 lead in the last 5:08 of the first half.
Ben Mbala, the season MVP, dominated the paint with 18 points and 10 boards.
“I congratulate La Salle. It was a tremendous effort for them. They did what it took to win and we didn’t make it easy for them. And that’s credit to our team and credit to them,” said Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin.