JERIC TENG said University of Santo Tomas’ experience proved the deciding factor when Game One of the UAAP Season 76 seniors basketball finals against De La Salle went down to the wire.
Teng scored seven of his 17 points in the fourth quarter and proved a steadying presence in the endgame when the Tigers pulled off a nail-biting 73-72 win over La Salle on Wednesday afternoon.
The fifth-year guard, now one win away from a fitting ending to his collegiate career, said there is no substitute to experience in a tight game played under the glare of the Finals spotlight.
“Sa tingin ko, there is no substitute for experience,” said Teng, pointing out that it was also Ateneo's championship poise that carried the Eagles past the Tigers in last year's title series.
“Naranasan namin against Ateneo, experience nila tapos nag-collapse kami. Iniisip ko lang na we really need to win. Ang naiisip ko talaga, dapat champion kami last year, dapat nanalo kami."
The veteran forward said he was so composed during the endgame he never doubted that the Tigers would win even after the Green Archers made the game too close for comfort.
“I was thinking, 'We have been here before,'" he said. "Malaking (bagay ang) experience sa finals na at least naramdaman namin ‘yun at kung ano ang gagawin namin.
“Pero katulad nga ng sinabi ni coach (Pido Jarencio), kapag dikitan, sa amin ‘yung laro,” he added.