MANILA, Philippines -- After a disappointing campaign in the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup, Alaska's Jeron Teng was glad that the Aces opened the Governors' Cup on a winning note.
Teng scored 19 points and grabbed four rebounds in Alaska's 87-85 win against the NorthPort Batang Pier, a confidence-boosting result against a team that made the playoffs in the previous conference.
"It's a great win for us," said Teng. "A win is a win."
The Aces squandered a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter, as Arwind Santos -- making his NorthPort debut -- almost single-handedly brought the Batang Pier back in the game.
But Robbie Herndon put Alaska back in front with a fadeaway jumper over Santos with 30 seconds left, and a split at the line by Teng was enough to ice the game for the Aces.
For Teng, who made 8-of-15 shots in the game, it was a promising start that also showed Alaska what they needed to work on.
"We still have a lot to improve on. Our goal is bigger this conference, and with (import) Olu (Ashaolu), we prepared really well this offseason. The coaching staff really prepared us well. It's all about playing together," he added.
Teng struggled mightily in the Philippine Cup, averaging just 8.0 points on 38.3% shooting per game. He shot just 11.1% from beyond the arc and only 55.6% from the free throw line.
The 27-year-old swingman is highly motivated to make up for his subpar play in that conference, and hopefully lead Alaska to more team success as well. The Aces finished in 11th place in the Philippine Cup with a 3-8 win-loss record, just above the woeful Blackwater Bossing (0-11).
"Last conference, it was really disappointing for us. Pero siyempre, we didn't take it for granted. There were lessons learned in that conference, and we're looking to really bounce back hard this conference," said Teng.
"Kaya lahat kami, we really strived to prepare for this," he added.