Brothers Jeron Teng of DLSU and Jeric Teng of UST will face off against each other once again, mano-a-mano, tomorrow, August 29, 2012 at 12 pm in the Mall of Asia Arena.
In their first encounter earlier this month, Coach Pido Jarencio’s squad pulled off an 84-82 double-overtime thriller, disappointing the Taft-based team.
The Green-and-White squad, however, has been re-energized and is coming off three straight victories against the Adamson Soaring Falcons, the National University Bulldogs and the University of the East Red Warriors.
Meanwhile, the Growling Tigers are also looking for a run, fresh from an overtime win against the Bulldogs.
A shared history
The two teams have had a long-standing rivalry in the UAAP; UST dominated the UAAP from 1994 to 1997, completing a rare four-peat, winning the last three of those championships at the expense of the Green Archers.
Immediately after UST’s feat, the Taft-based squad had a four-peat of its own, winning the next four championships; the second of which was against the Tigers.
The Taft-based players have, however, prepared for a comeback against UST with Jeron Teng in the fold.
Now led by Jeric Teng, the team is hoping to end the six year championship drought in Espana. Entering the league with a reputation as a scorer, he has not disappointed and has maintained a high level of play at the collegiate level.
Though three years apart in age, the Teng brothers were teammates in high school, playing for Tiong Lian powerhouse Xavier High School.
Together, they dominated games with their unique combination of perimeter skills, leading the Stallions to several juniors championships.
Tigers no pushover
Aside from the rookie Teng, who has averaged a team-leading 16.6 points to go with 7.7 rebounds, DLSU will rely on skipper LA Revilla and big man Norbert Torres to carry the load.
Revilla, who missed the Archers’ last game due to an ankle injury that has hampered him all season, is still averaging 10.6 points and 3.8 assists, highlighted by a 19 point outburst in the team’s first encounter with the Tigers.
Down low on the block, Torres has shown improvement from last season, emerging as the Archers’ premiere post player with per game norms of 9.1 points, 10 rebounds and 1.7 blocks.
With several capable big men and a depth of talented guards, any of the players in the rotation could take over the game in one way or another, as evidenced in the Archers’ last two games against the Bulldogs and Red Warriors.
Beating the Tigers though would be no walk in the park as the team’s frontcourt duo of Karim Abdul and Aljon Mariano has given headaches to league members.
Abdul averages 16 points and a league-leading 12.6 rebounds while Mariano, who has just returned after missing season 74 due to an injury, has an average of 13.4 points and 6.6 rebounds.
The UST is also a threat to the Archers from the outside as well. UST’s Teng capitalizes on outside shots to do his damage and despite an MCL injury, he has an average of 12.3 points and 3.8 rebounds.
After struggling early in the season, former De La Salle Zobel standout Jeric Fortuna has picked up his game and now averages 9.1 points to go with 5.4 assists, the highest average in the league today. Fortuna, who hit the game-tying three to force overtime in a comeback win against NU, has continued to lead the team in his final UAAP season.
As the Tigers will rely heavily on their high-scoring starting unit, expect the Archers to maximize their depth advantage to even out the odds.
The Taft-based squad’s last match against UST was one for the ages with both teams going back-and-forth for 50 minutes of exhilarating basketball. It will be interesting to see the Teng brothers match up on the wings once again as they try to outperform each other.
The younger brother won the scoring duel in their first match as Jeron tallied 17 points compared to Jeric’s nine.
Both teams have emerged as underdogs for this year’s crown, and have the tools to pull off an upset. The Espana-based squad holds a record at 7-2 while La Salle is right behind in the standings with a 5-3 slate.