As far as De La Salle University’s Jeron Teng is concerned, the real MVP of the UAAP men’s basketball finals is his older brother, Jeric.
Jeron was named the finals MVP after the Green Archers clinched the championship on Saturday. But as his teammates celebrated on court, he embraced his brother, who fought his heart out for University of Santo Tomas, and raised his hand.
La Salle outsteadied UST in the overtime period to hammer out a 71-69 win in the championship series’ winner-take-all game.
“My older brother Jeric deserves to be the MVP of this finals,” Jeron said as La Salle fans erupted in celebration in the packed Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City. “I knew how hard he fought and he also deserved the credit.”
The younger Teng scored 25, hauled down eight rebounds and dished out six assists in La Salle’s conquest of UST. Jeric led the Growling Tigers with 24 points as he finished his final year in the UAAP.
“I really wanted to celebrate because we came out the winner of this championship, but I have to admit that I felt the loss of my brother. It is very hard,” Jeron said. “I really don’t know what to feel because he I knew he wanted to leave the school as a champion.”
The brothers are the sons of former Philippine Basketball Association enforcer Alvin Teng.
Jeric said he is very happy for his brother. “He deserved that title,” said Jeric, who fell to his knees in frustration as the buzzer sounded.
Desire to improve key to La Salle’s UAAP crown: Sauler
De La Salle University rookie head coach Juno Sauler said Green Archers’ drive to constantly improve themselves was the key to their winning the UAAP men’s basketball crown.
Sauler, 40, told reporters in the post-game interview that La Salle will get even better next year.
“The important thing for me is trying to get better in what we’re doing everyday,” said Sauler. “And it’s been a season of consistent improvement. There is something more important than winning and that’s improving yourself on a daily basis.”
“Even if you are champions but you don’t get to do your best, that’s really nothing to me,” added Sauler, whose team will remain intact next season.
The Green Archers finished the first round with only three wins in seven games, but swept the second round to advance to the Final Four.
La Salle defeated Far Easter University in the Final Four to face University of Santo Tomas for the title.
The Archers lost Game 1, 72-73, but bounced back to win the next two to bag the school’s eighth men’s UAAP basketball crown.
Sauler thanked the alumni and former players like Renren Ritualo, Marc Cardona, Mike Cortez, Willy Wilson and Francis Zamora, now the vice-mayor of San Juan City, for supporting and motivating the team.
He also credited his assistants Allan Caidic and Jun Limpot for helping La Salle win the title, which it last won in 2007 against University of the East.
Caidic and Limpot “are more than that in what you can imagine. They helped us a lot,” said Sauler, who is now the second rookie UAAP coach to win a title after Pido Jarencio of UST who did the trick against Ateneo in 2006.
Sauler said the players’ desire to improve changed everything—from a struggling first round campaign to a champion team in the end of the UAAP 76 season.