RAIN or Shine guard Jeric Teng couldn't help but feel nostalgic as he returned to his roots on Saturday.
Gracing the opening of the 3rd PHilippine Secondary Schools Basketball Championship (PSSBC) at the Chiang Kai Shek High School gymnasium in Tondo, Manila, Teng couldn't help but look back on his own rise from the Fil-Chinese leagues to the pro ranks.
The former star of the University of Santo Tomas Tigers said he saw himself in the high schoolers gathered inside the CKS gym, each one dreaming of making it to the big leagues someday.
Teng was glad his own dream came true.
"I'm very happy na maraming players na nandun pa rin ang dream to play basketball. Nakita ko lang ang sarili ko before, because once, I was also a student-athlete," the sophomore Rain or Shine guard told Spin.ph.
Teng said his road to the top was not without difficulties, even if he belongs to one of the most prominent basketball families in the country.
The 6-1 forward even recalled the time he failed to make the cut for Xavier School's varsity team in high school.
"Honestly, hindi eh (never imagined he'll play in the PBA) kasi dati, nung bata pa ako, nag-try out, try out din lang ako pero na-cut din ako, so kami ni Jeron, yung dad ko di niya inaakala na mage-excel kami dito sa sport," shared the son of former PBA player Alvin.
Alvin, in fact, only learned about his eldest son's entry to the Xavier high school squad the following year through another parent.
"Nung first time ako na-cut, di na niya ako pinanood eh, sa Xavier pa 'yun," Jeric recalled. "He was still playing pero patapos na ang career nya. Nalaman na lang nya sa parents ng teammates ko na nasa (Xavier) team na pala ako."
Now Teng is one of the several players from the Fil-Chinese community making their mark in the big league, joining the likes of Rain or Shine teammates Chris Tiu and Tyrone Tang, Ginebra's Joseph Yeo and San Miguel Beer's Justine Chua.
And his advice to these young players?
"There's no secret to success, because you have to keep working hard and be disciplined," said the 23-year-old Teng. "Of course, you also have to know your priorities kaya kailangan mo ding mag-aral kasi basketball is a short career."