MANILA, Philippines – Alaska head coach Alex Compton never had any doubt that Jeron Teng will make an immediate impact in the PBA, as he has followed the player's progress since he was a teenager all the way to his years with De La Salle University.
Teng shone for Compton's Aces once more on Sunday, firing 23 points on just 17 shots while grabbing nine rebounds. He keyed Alaska's 102-65 rout of Kia, scoring 13 points in the pivotal third quarter that gave them complete control of the game.
"Jeron is Jeron," Compton said simply when asked of his rookie's performance after the game.
"He's been taking over since he was probably around eight (years old)," he added. "The first time I saw him, him and Kiefer (Ravena) were somewhere around the same age – 12, 13, or 14. He's just always had a knack for dominating."
Compton noted that Teng, the fifth overall pick in the 2017 PBA Rookie Draft, was blessed with the same bulk that his father, Alvin Teng, had. "Ang laking tao, brusko," he observed.
His strong, compact frame allowed Teng to shine at every level of basketball. He first burst into public consciousness as a high school player for Xavier School, where he memorably scored 104 points in a Tiong Lian game. In college, he immediately became La Salle's ace player and helped the Green Archers win two championships.
"It seems like Jeron's whole career, even when he went to the next level, he was immediately still one of the big boys," Compton said of the 6-foot-2 Teng.
Indeed, Compton pointed out that Teng "doesn't have a rookie body," and the former King Archer is not afraid to mix it up inside the paint against the burly forwards of the PBA.
"His physicality, he's inserted that, and he helps us in rebounding. Obviously, getting to the basket, he draws a lot of contact," the coach also said.
"The kid's got a knack for scoring and attacking the basket," Compton added. "We were very happy with the pick we had at No. 5."
Through his first four professional games, Teng is averaging 18.75 points and 5.50 rebounds per game. He does all this while acknowledging that he has yet to fully understand the system that Alaska is running.
"It takes time to be 100% familiarized with the system," said Teng, who was twice Finals MVP as a La Salle player. "But I'll get there with the help of the coaches, (who are) teaching me a lot of things, and my teammates who are helping me out."
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