I was in a bathroom with Susan Teng during eliminations last year. The fiery mom of Jeric and Jeron Teng was sharing a laugh with her friends.
“UST looks like they can make it all the way to the finals,” her friend said in Filipino.
“I am hoping for UST-La Salle finals,” she answered.
“How are they at hom e after a game?”
“They tease each other a lot.”
A year later, the Teng brothers have fulfilled their mother’s wish.
The rivalry has captured the imagination of fans because it is not everyday you witness a basketball championship game where siblings are pitted against each other.
They expected the comparisons since Jeron signed up for the Green Archers last year. Yet, they were savvy about it, too. They granted interviews, photo shoots and made TV show appearances together. They endorsed the same brands.
They milked the rivalry for what it’s worth, but the fans were always hungry for more. The brothers kept whetting their appetite through the off-court banter on Twitter.
Jeron wore a yellow shirt that said “The Potent King Tiger Jeric Teng” whenever he watched the do-or-die games of the Growling Tigers. Jeric wore a white shirt that simply said “Team Jeron” when the Archers faced the FEU Tamaraws.
It can be said that they fueled the excitement. It made everybody root for both of them, until they met each other in the finals.
Does that mean they are going to be nice to each other on court? Hardly so.
The two are the leaders of their respective squads. They are the ones who give the pep talk to their teams before the games. They are not called Kings for nothing.
“I tell my teammates to continue what they are doing. I even tell them what Jeron tends to do to help them,” Jeric says.
There was a bit of a tension between the two last Wednesday. They got tangled up with each other in the second quarter. When they both got free, they gave each other a major stare down. They only backed down when a referee issued them a warning.
This goes to show that, on the court, their brothers are their teammates. And that the best Teng will win.