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Jeric Teng returns in time for Pasig's last playoff push

Jeric Teng dropped 30 points or more in three of his last four games to lift the Realtors to the MPBL playoffs. MPBL (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

BINAN—Pasig dearly missed Jeric Teng for the past month due to an ear infection, but his return to action as a timely one.

Once a team on track of a Top 4 finish in the Northern Division, which would mean homecourt advantage in the first round of the playoffs, the Realtors lost back-to-back games to the Davao Occidental Tigers and the Basilan Steel and found themselves in the bubble.

Although Pasig lost in his comeback against San Juan mainly due to John Wilson's record setting performance, Teng put up impressive numbers as well, particularly a game-high 31 points. This sets up Teng's resurgence.

The Realtors finally snapped their skid in their next game against the Imus Bandera behind a 35-point bomb from Teng.

[Related Story: Pasig snaps skid with win over Imus]

He cooled down a bit when Pasig ended Binan City's winning streak, but he exploded again for another 30-point night when Pasig clinched an MPBL playoff seat with a win against Navotas at the Alonte Sports Arena here on Saturday night.

In an interview with Dugout Philippines after the Realtors' latest win, Teng said that he was just doing his duty.

"We're making our playoff push, so kailangang i-up ko talaga yung game ko. Talagang puro practice. Nakukuha lahat yun sa practice. Our whole team is working hard sa practice talaga para gumanda laro namin," Teng said.

According to the former UST star and PBA champion with Rain Or Shine, making the MPBL playoffs is a huge achievement for a team which was hastily built.

"Nag-start kami one or two weeks before the tournament. Hindi namin alam kung saan kami makakarating tapos ang dami naming pinagdaanan, so talagang very happy kami dahil alam namin na pinaghirapan namin everyday talaga ito sa practice," Teng added.

The Pasig-Sta. Lucia Realtors are a fusion of the old Pasig Blue Pirates in the MBA and the Sta. Lucia Realtors of the PBA and PCBL, two franchises known for being strongholds in their respective former leagues at some point.

Now, the current incarnation of both clubs will continue its predecessors' tradition of making the playoffs.

All of these would not be possible if not for Sta. Lucia taking over the Pasig franchise that was dead last in the Northern Division last year.

"Nagpapasalamat kami dahil yung management namin, yung Pasig government na pinamumunuan nila Mayor Vico [Sotto] tapos yung boss namin, si Exe Robles, saka si Boss Buddy Encarnado, talagang todo suporta. They really know how to handle a team," Teng continued. "Sila talaga, mine-make sure nila na maayos yung team, yung practice, yung mga kailangan namin, lahat nabibigay sa amin."

Considering how his last four games went--averaging 27.8 points a night during the said stretch--Teng could be poised to rejoining his younger brother Jeron in the PBA. But for Jeric, who last played for NorthPort, that is not in his agenda right now.

"Hindi ko pa iniisip yun. Basta ako, I'm happy right now in the MPBL. I'm happy with my team," the older Teng continued.

He concluded, "Ang focus ko lang is that we're still gonna play hard sa last two games namin kasi gusto namin, pagdating ng playoffs, mataas yung level ng play namin."

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno