Jeron Teng turned in his finest outing yet as Alaska frustrated Terrafirma, 102-97, in arguably one of the most thrilling comebacks in the 2021-22 PBA Governors’ Cup, Saturday evening at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
The four-year pro exploded for a career-high 30 points, including 14 in the final quarter as he powered the Aces’ furious rally after trailing by as much as 20 points late in the third canto.
He also collected five rebounds, three steals, and two assists as the inspired Milkmen added yet another highlight to its farewell tour.
“JT was phenomenal tonight,” lauded head coach Jeff Cariaso. “With JT being out there, we felt that he was a hard matchup for them at the three-position.
“Kasing-laki siya ni [Andreas] Cahilig — or Cahilig is a little bigger — but we felt like there was still a mismatch with JT, so we wanted to go to him. And he was ready. He was prepared,” the seasoned mentor added.
It was already seen as a lopsided shot to the end when the Dyip erupted for 35 points in the third while holding Alaska to just 24, which enabled them to enter the deciding chapter with an 83-66 advantage.
The Aces, though, didn’t throw in the towel whatsoever. Former San Sebastian College teammates Allyn Bulanadi and RK Ilagan sparked the fightback, with the lanky forward scoring seven consecutive points.
Then there was the pint-sized guard, who nailed back-to-back jumpers to trim the gap to just a field goal, 93-91, with exactly four minutes to go.
And just mere seconds later, rookie Alec Stockton helped out as well by way of a daredevil drive to cut the deficit to just a solitary point.
That’s when Teng took over. He scored six consecutive points to give the Aces the 99-94 lead with just 1:06 remaining in the game.
There was no stopping him and the Aces anymore, as the Dyip’s offense turned sour. The second-generation cager would go on to ice the game from the line in the final seconds, and the Aces erupted in joy as time expired.
“We just gutted it out,” said Teng postgame. “We knew how important this game is. And like what I said, every game, we’re inspired.”
Abu Tratter made his presence felt with 21 points and 10 rebounds in the win that improved their record to 5-2.. Import Olu Ashaolu made only 11 points but hauled down 19 boards, as Bulanadi chimed in 10 markers.
“I’d like to give credit to the guys who came off the bench who normally don’t get a lot of minutes. Our bench played really well tonight. They gave us a spark and sometimes that’s all you need for us to get going a little bit,” said Cariaso.
Alaska will now look to stretch its winning streak to four when it battles NLEX on Wednesday, February 23, at 3:00 p.m. at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.
Terrafirma’s loss wasted the outing of Antonio Hester, who finished with a triple-double of 24 points, 14 rebounds, and 11 assists in 42 minutes.
Top pick Joshua Munzon supplied 21 points and seven rebounds in the heartbreaking defeat that dropped the Dyip’s card to 2-5. Juami Tiongson made 16 points, as Gilas draftee Isaac Go added 11 markers.
Terrafirma will look to return to the win column against Meralco on Thursday, February 24, at 3:00 p.m also in Antipolo.
Alaska 102 – Teng 30, Tratter 21, Ashaolu 11, Bulanadi 10, Ahanmisi 7, DiGregorio 4, Ilagan 4, Stockton 4, Herndon 4, Faundo 4, Tolomia 3, Racal 0, Adamos 0, Publico 0.
Terrafirma 97 – Hester 24, Munzon 21, Tiongson 16, Go 11, Calvo 8, Daquioag 8, Cahilig 5, Camson 4, Pascual 0, Ramos 0, Batiller 0.
Quarterscores: 20-25, 42-48, 66-83, 102-97.
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