IF there’s a silver lining in Alaska’s 108-95 loss to Magnolia in their PBA Philippine Cup opener on Wednesday night, it’s that Jeron Teng put up a solid pro debut that earned praise from coach Alex Compton.
Thrust in the starting lineup right in his debut after being the fifth overall pick in this year’s draft, Teng repaid Compton’s faith by pumping in 16 points on 4-of-9 shooting from the field and 8-of-9 from the charity stripe, along with two boards without a turnover in 25 minutes.
“He did very well,” Compton said. “He’s been about six weeks now…but for a rookie to come in and you know, get to the line that much? He attacks, he’s so strong right? And he attacks guys with strength, with his wit, his craftiness.”
“Guys just hit him a lot,” he added of the sturdy 6-foot-2 wingman. “They just end up hitting him. He really gets fouled. He does a great job in getting to the line.”
“And with a guy that physical and strong and quick and shifty… I think he’s gonna cause problems in this league,” he continued.
Teng, though, played down his solid start, insisting he has yet to fully blend in with the system and his teammates.
“It's a learning process for me,” the 23-year-old cager said. “I am still trying to learn the system of Alaska. They've been playing together for how many years already and bago pa lang ako. I need to be more fluid on defense and offense. Sa akin, kailangan ko pa matutunan yung system.”
“It’s (PBA style) really different from college and D-League,” he added. “This is the pros already. The best guys are here. It's a big adjustment for me. As a player, I saw what I needed to improve on to be able to help the team.”
But with a work ethic like his, Teng’s future is surely bright.
“He’s still got some things to… like every player,” Compton said. “But he’s a rookie so there’s room to learn in our defenses. But he certainly doesn’t lack effort. Kid’s what we call a 'gym rat.' You gotta say 'Jeron, Go Home.' Really, he just stays and works on his game. It’s just great.”