ALL season long, team skipper Jeron Teng was bent on giving his best in season 79 of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) men’s basketball finals.
This is his final year for the Green Archers, and he wanted to make up for a disappointing season last year when they missed the Final Four.
“Right from the start I really wanted to give my best. It was my last game. I really wanted to give my all for La Salle,” said Teng.
He finished the season with an average of 17.7 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists.
Teng hit a career high output of 28 for the second time this season during the final game. He then added three rebounds to earn the Finals MVP.
One of his best games of the season came as the Green Archers tallied a 79-72 victory over the Ateneo Blue Eagles in Game 2 Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum.
La Salle coach Aldin Ayo said their season was a roller-coaster ride even if they were on top of the eliminations with 13 wins and one loss.
“It was not easy because our game would rise and then fall. The best thing that happened is after the game with Adamson, we played our worst game. And it was all up from there,” said Ayo.
Ayo said they experienced a dip in their game after they posted an 86-79 win over the Adamson Falcons in the second round.
They played and won a close contest over the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons, 78-72, afterwards.
“I challenged these guys. They responded. The Adamson game was a game changer,” said Ayo.
The Soaring Falcons are coached by former La Salle mentor Franz Pumaren, who steered the Green Archers to five championships under his watch.
Ayo said the boys just surrendered to the system and just played basketball.
For the Green Archers, there was a lot of pressure from the La Salle community to make it to the finals and to win the championship.
Handling the Green Archers this season, after transferring from the Letran Knights after they won the 91st National Collegiate Athletic Association. was a tall order indeed.
“It was a make or break situation (after their game with Adamson). But, good thing, they took the challenge as a positive,” said Ayo.
To make it easier for himself and members of the team, coach Aldin Ayo taught many of the players how to deal with pressure and the demands of the game.
“The game was so tight because of the rivalry. But the bottom line remained basketball. Playing good basketball,” said Ayo.
For Ayo, this is an historic second crown after he coached the Letran Knights to an NCAA crown last season at the expense of the San Beda Red Lions.
The Green Archers ended the season with their ninth crown.
“I just wanted to win the championship. I knew it would be difficult. There was constant pressure. The coaches were all good. There were all kinds of challenges during the games. It was difficult. I didn’t think about anything else. I just wanted to win the championship. That’s’ all,” said Ayo after La Salle finished with a two-game sweep of their best-of-three championship series.