Jeron Teng’s new challenge
by rick olivares
Jeron Teng likes challenges. For as long as he can remember, he was always the youngest this and the youngest that, lumped in age groups where players were not only older but bigger. By camp or tourney’s end, the second son of former all-pro player Alvin Teng stood heads above all.
For the Xavier Stallions, he plays every position on the floor. He plays where he needs to and does what it takes to win. He recounts a time when he was with the Under-16 national team where their tallest player was Ateneo’s Paolo Romero who played the center slot at 6’2”. “We were the smallest team in the tournament,” he smiles mischievously. “So we used our speed to beat opponents.”
And that team came within a missed layup of grabbing a bronze medal.
The loss still galls Teng but he has learned to move on. “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” he quotes of that age-old adage. And the 17-year old 6’2” Teng is just that – stronger. And he thanks the training he received not just from his Xavier coaches but also from what he learned in the National Basketball Training Center and the national team’s camps abroad.
Teng recalls the national team’s training camp in Indiana under taskmaster Ed Schilling. “That was hard. The drills he had us do were difficult but they do make you a better player. The exposure is also good because when you keep playing bigger and stronger players, you gain a lot in confidence.”
The NBTC is something the young hoops player appreciates. “The training that you get isn’t just the skills you will need on the court but the values formation. They place a lot of importance on that as well such as striving for excellence, being humble, and playing fair. It completes you as a player.”
Teng, who spent three years in the NBTC’s Elite Program, noted several good players who have gone through the program who are doing well in the college ranks – Ralph Nayve of the College of Saint Benilde Blazers, Jeff Javillionar of National University, and Baser Amer of San Beda College to name a few. “They were already good before the program but they are much better now.”
And the younger brother of UST Growling Tiger Jeron has indeed grown into a complete player. Jeron normally mans the point guard position for Xavier but he is at his best when he drives to the hoop using that quick first step. “He can take a hit and still finish,” marvels Alex Compton, one of his coaches at the NBTC. “And that is one reason why he is a coveted player by several college programs. The kid can shoot, pass, drive, play defense, he’s got height… there’s nothing not to like.”
After Teng leads Xavier in their defense of the Tiong Lian Cup, he will make the decision of what colors to wear come college – Ateneo, La Salle or NU. “It’s not an easy decision,” he says. “So I will put it off until after the tournament (that ends late February). College will be a new challenge.”
Favorite PBA club: Ginebra
Favorite PBA player: Mark Caguioa
Fave NBA team: Oklahoma City Thunder
Fave NBA player: Russell Westbrook
With Jeron Teng and Alex Compton at Robinson's Galleria.
More reading material here including Jeron Teng being invited to the Seaoil All-Star High School Game.