Jeric Teng, finally a champion

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on May 23, 2016 07:29 PM
Jeric Teng, finally a champion
LONG TIME COMING. Rain or Shine's second title in franchise history was four years in the making, but Elasto Painter Jeric Teng had to endure a longer wait for another championship.

The Rain or Shine-Alaska Finals in the 2016 PBA Commissioner’s Cup was said to be the battle between bridesmaids and perhaps no other player in the league personified this storyline better than Jeric Teng.

Elasto Painter teammate Raymond Almazan has his own rightful argument to be made, but it is undoubtedly Teng who endured the most and the longest before finally claiming a championship.

The four-year span from 2012 to 2016 was not nice to the University of Sto. Tomas product – in 2012, he and the Growling Tigers were swept in the Finals by Ateneo de Manila University then in 2013, Espana was left heartbroken after losing to De La Salle University in the three-game Finals.

The guard dropped out of the first round and was drafted only 12th overall by Rain or Shine in 2013. He was lucky enough to reach two championship rounds in his rookie year, but he and his teammates were defeated by San Mig Coffee (now Star) for both titles in the Philippine and Governor’s Cups.

Lady luck continued to look away from former Xavier School standout in 2015 with the Elasto Painters again failing to win it all and settling for second-place behind Tropang TNT in the Commissioner’s Cup. Very much aware of his bad luck, he shared, “Dati, ‘di ko alam kung kelan ko maririnig yung ‘Jeric Teng, champion’ dahil puro runner-up. Parang iniisip ko na nga na malas ako.”

After last Wednesday’s championship-clinching win, however, the wait is over at long last for Teng. “It’s very fulfilling kasi I’ve been a runner-up ever since yung last two years ko in college tapos yung first two years ko with Rain or Shine. I’m very thankful na nanalo kami,” he expressed.

To be fair, the now 25-year-old won it all at least once during his high school days in Xavier, but without a doubt, that level is far different from the UAAP and the PBA. Now finally a champion, he mused, “Kung nanalo ako (with UST), siguro ganito rin yung feeling. Lahat ng pinaghirapan during practice and pagkatalo, it was all worth it.”

And for all those who doubted he could be part of a championship team? He responded, “At least, ngayon, wala nang masasabi yung iba. ‘Di na sasabihing malas kami (ni Raymond).”

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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