MORE than his birthday, it's the urgency of the situation which primed up Jeron Teng in putting an end to Alaska's skid in the PBA Philippine Cup.
Teng was also complemented by coach Alex Compton, noting how Teng made good shooting his free throws Wednesday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The sophomore wingman had 16 points, seven rebounds, and three assists in the Aces' 92-77 win over the Meralco Bolts that kept them in the running for a berth in the quarterfinals.
Teng also went a perfect 7-of-7 from the foul line.
While the team's fourth victory in nine outings was a perfect gift on the eve of his birthday, Teng said Alaska needed to really pull off this one to salvage its campaign in the season-opening meet.
"It's a crucial game for us, and we know it," said Teng. "We came out with a lot of energy and siyempre were hoping to win. It's really a crucial game for us."
"Jeron did a great job as a best player. I particularly like 7-for-7 from the free throw line. That was great," said the Alaska coach.
The game also marked the return to active duty of JVee Casio and Kevin Racal, who missed the team's first eight games due to injuries.
Only Vic Manuel remained in the injury list, but Teng said just having two of the Aces' key players are good enough for them.
"Super-motivated kami. Siyempre ang tagal ding nawala si Jvee Casio, tapos si Kevin Racal, tsaka yung rookie namin na si (Gideon) Babilonia," he said.
Ngayon lang kami nakumpleto sa practice so I think malaking bagay yun."
Teng will turn 24 on March 21, and he certainly welcomes this one as a respite before going back to the drawing boards as the Aces will face defending champion San Miguel next followed by NorthPort for their final assignment in the eliminations.
"Sakto yung blessing sa akin ni God for the win," said Teng while holding a birthday cake on his way out of the Big Dome. (RG)