No substitute for experience, says UST's Teng
|La Salle's Jeron Teng (21) is tightly guarded by his brother, Jeric Teng (16), ofUST in Game 1 of the UAAP Season 76 men's basketball finals. Photo by Mark Cristino for ABS-CBNnews.com|
MANILA, Philippines – Their painful experience in the UAAP Season 75 finals wound up helping the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Growling Tigers as they target a happier ending this time around against the De La Salle Green Archers.
Last season, the Tigers were swept in two games by Ateneo as the Blue Eagles completed their five-peat. But that painful experience is now helping UST in their best-of-three series against La Salle. In Game 1, they overcame a blunder late in the game and got the necessary stop in crunch time to escape with a 73-72 win.
For UST skipper Jeric Teng, their much-ballyhooed “championship experience” was the key in their Game 1 victory.
“There’s no substitute for experience,” he said. “Naranasan namin last year ‘yun against Ateneo. Ginamit nila ang experience nila, at nag-collapse kami.”
But against a younger La Salle team, it was UST who had more composure in crunch time that allowed them to immediately regroup even after Aljon Mariano committed a turnover in the final 29 seconds.
La Salle had a chance to win after Mariano fumbled an inbound pass, but Almond Vosotros bricked a triple, and UST center Karim Abdul blocked a putback shot by LA Revilla.
“We’ve been here before,” said Teng. “Malaki talaga ‘yung experience na ‘yun, na last year we were in the Finals. At least, naramdaman na namin kung ano ‘yung feeling ng Finals, so coming into this game, I think we’re relaxed.”
“Alam na namin ‘yung gagawin kapag dikitan ‘yung laban,” he added. “Kagaya nga ng laging sinasabi sa amin ni Coach (Pido Jarencio), kapag dikitan ‘yung laban, dapat sa amin."
But Teng also acknowledged that luck played a role in their victory.
“Thankfully, the breaks of the game went our way,” he said. “Muntik na talaga manalo ‘yung La Salle. Swerte lang kami.”
Teng and the Growling Tigers can clinch their first UAAP title since 2006 on Game 2, scheduled for Saturday at the Araneta Coliseum.