JERIC Teng was simply thrilled that despite the injuries he had to endure this UAAP season, he can still finish his collegiate career with a trip to the Final Four.
Teng played his best game since returning from an injury, scoring 17 points and grabbing nine rebounds to guide University of Santo Tomas to an 82-74 victory over Ateneo and clinch the last semifinals berth.
The top UST gunner buried two three-pointers including one that capped a searing 13-2 blast that led to a 65-53 lead the Tigers would never relinquish on their way to the all-important victory.
The fifth-year guard was elated he will still play in a Final Four despite being riddled with injuries for almost half of the season.
“Sobrang overjoyed siguro,” said Teng. “I’ve been through a lot this season.”
The eldest of the two playing sons of former PBA player Alvin Teng earlier sustained a shoulder injury after a collision in the first round of UST’s game against National University, forcing him to miss five games.
But after the shoulder injury had healed, Teng suffered yet another one to his hamstring that kept him out of action for two more games.
Yet despite the obstacles, Teng still managed to redeem himself as the Tigers put themselves in a position to vie for the last Final Four slot against the Blue Eagles.
“Talagang nag-sipag ako pero unfortunately, I got injured. But for this game, focus ko lang is manalo. I’m happy na pasok kami sa Final Four,” he said.
“Before the game, I told myself na ayoko pa matapos ngayon,” Teng added.
UST coach Pido Jarencio was glad his star player has finally returned not just to provide scoring but also court leadership.
“Ang leader ko, bumalik. He’s back,” Jarencio said.
But Teng was quick to deflect the credit to his teammates, who logged additional minutes in his absence as they made a run to the Final Four.
“Gusto talaga nila manalo. If we play as a team, kaya naming manalo. Hindi ako masyadong bugbog dahil nakapag-pahinga ako, pero `yung ibang teammates ko, sila siguro ang pagod.
“Pero last game na ito, all the way na kami,” Teng said.