The title just wasn't for us, says Jeric
|UST's Jeric Teng cries after the Growling Tigers lost to the De La Salle Green Archers in Game 3 of the UAAP Season 76 Finals. Photo by Rem Zamora, ABS-CBNnews.com|
MANILA, Philippines – A subdued Jeric Teng graciously accepted defeat after the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Growling Tigers lost to the De La Salle Green Archers in a hotly contested do-or-die game in the UAAP Season 76 Finals Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Teng scored 24 points, but it was not enough as La Salle came away with a 71-69 victory in overtime in Game 3 to win the series, 2-1, and claim the men’s basketball crown.
“Parang breaks of the game na nga,” Teng said. “Two tough teams, naglaban, and we made some mistakes noong fourth at saka noong overtime. We made some crucial mistakes.”
“Ayun nga, talagang siguro hindi lang para sa amin,” he said.
The Tigers could have won the game in regulation after Teng’s brother, Jeron, committed a crucial turnover that allowed UST to gain possession with just six seconds left. But out of a timeout, UST forward Aljon Mariano misfired on a step-back three-pointer, sending the game to an extra five minutes.
Teng put UST ahead for the last time in overtime with a fallaway baseline jumper that made it 69-67, but La Salle regained the lead for good when Almond Vosotros drained his own jump shot with 19 seconds to go.
Down two points with 2.3 seconds left, Teng was the inbounder, and UST center Karim Abdul misfired on a long jumper.
“Sa huling inbound play, decision ni Coach Pido (Jarencio) 'yun,” said Teng. “Wala naman akong second thought about it. Nire-respect ko ‘yung decision ni Coach. Malaki ang tiwala ko sa kanya.”
“Ako naman, at the same time, hindi naman ako nag-complain dahil I trusted my teammates,” he added. “I still trust them. I know they will bounce back naman kahit papaano next year.”
But Teng also acknowledged that there were a lot of frustrated faces at the UST locker room, as they know how close they had come to making history.
“Everyone’s frustrated. Everyone’s sad. We knew that we were so close. Nahawakan na namin ‘yung trophy, dumulas pa,” he said. “Ganoon na siya kalapit.”
“Everyone’s really frustrated, dahil grabe ang tinrabaho namin. We started from the bottom, then dahan-dahan kami umakyat,” he added. “Sayang, Cinderella story na sana. We could have made history as the first No. 4 seed na magcha-champion.”
“But ‘yun nga, breaks of the game.”