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Jeric Teng joins PBA rookie draft

Manila, Philippines – Jeric Teng may have no choice but enter the PBA draft after it was learned that there is no longer any room for him in the national basketball team to the Southeast Asian Games.

JERIC TengTeng, one of the hottest players to come out of college this year, had expressed a desire to play for the Gilas Pilipinas team if the opportunity arises.

Gilas coach Jong Uichico yesterday said that while Teng’s talent would be a great asset to the team, it is unfortunate that the team had already been formed and that the names of the players had already been submitted to the organizers.

Uichico also said that several players already play Teng’s position (small forward) such as Kevin Alas, Garvo Lanete, and RR Garcia.

Teng confirmed in several television interviews yesterday that it’s going to be the PBA for him.

“It’s my plan really to play in the PBA,” Teng said in an interview with GMA News TV’s morning program News 2 Go yesterday. “Ever since yun talaga plan ko kaya siguro I’ll enter this year’s draft.”

Minutes after UST absorbed a 71-69 overtime loss in the deciding Game 3, Teng said he was unsure about his future plans whether to join the Draft, play for Gilas in the SEA Games, or spend a year in the PBA D-League.

Teng opened the possibility of joining the Gilas cadet squad if the opportunity arises. However, his announcement yesterday ends that chance.

Experts project Teng as a first-round draft choice with Globalport is said to be among the teams interested in his service.

His former Xavier School manager Caesar Wongchuking believes he’s ripe for the pro league.

“He has outstanding basketball skills, great attitude and very passionate with the sport,” said Wongchuking.

Teng has until Friday to apply for the draft but those close to the 22-year-old confided that the papers are now being processed. The elder son of former PBA cager Alvin Teng survived a pair of injuries (shoulder and hamstring) during his final UAAP season to lead UST to the finals for the second straight season.

In the Finals, Teng averaged 23 points highlighted by a 24-point performance in Game 3.

However, his younger brother Jeron Teng and La Salle ended up winning the championship in one of the most memorable titlewinning games in UAAP history.