IN just his first game in the PBA D-League, Jeron Teng proved that he belongs as he put up a performance to remember for AMA Online Education on Thursday.
Teng etched his name in the record books as he came away with 42 points to lead AMA to a 101-95 victory over Batangas, living up to expectations in one of the most-awaited PBA D-League debuts in quite a while.
Only James Martinez’ 60-point output for, incidentally, AMA last August in the Foundation Cup was better than the scoring output of Teng, who surpassed Mac Belo’s 41 for Phoenix also in the same conference last season.
The former La Salle star said he was not aware that he scored 42 points until he was informed about it by AMA head coach Mark Herrera.
“Nagulat na lang ako, sinabi ni coach. I was just focused on giving my best to the team,” said Teng.
The 22-year-old Teng was happy that he is being allowed by Herrera to play his game, as shown by the number of shots he took (12-of-27) during the game.
“That’s what I like about Coach Mark. He lets me play my game. Props to him for getting us this victory. Nailalabas ko ang laro ko dito. He has trust in my judgment that is why lumabas ‘yung game ko today,” he added.
Teng’s debut lured hundreds of mostly AMA fans to the Ynares Sports Arena on Thursday, besieging the AMA star with selfie requests as early as halftime. More stormed the court after the final buzzer sounded.
Teng said he had been waiting for this moment to play in the D-League.
“Super excited talaga ako kasi five years ako sa La Salle, hindi ako nakapag-D-League. I used to envy those guys [who played in the D-League while in college] because of the basketball experience. I’m really hungry to improve,” said Teng.
Teng said the raucous crowd cheering for AMA evoked memories of his college stint with La Salle.
“Happy lang ako na parang feeling ko, nasa college pa rin ako. I felt the school spirit in this game for the AMA community. I’m really happy to be part of this,” Teng said.
Despite the explosive debut, Teng still believes he has a lot of room for improvement.
“Siguro ‘yung outside shooting ko, and involving my teammates more,” said Teng, when asked what areas he still needs to improve on. “Basta ang mentality ko lang is to give my best every game and improve as much as I can before I enter the (PBA rookie) draft.”