By ABS-CBNnews.com and U.S. News Agency / Asian
Graduating University of Santo Tomas (UST) guard Jeric Teng on Thursday reminded the supporters of the Growling Tigers that players can also have off-days.
Teng was reacting to the criticism thrown at his teammate Aljon Mariano, who has received the brunt of the blame for UST’s loss to the De La Salle Green Archers for this season’s UAAP men’s basketball championship.
Speaking to Karen Davila on ANC’s “Headstart,” Teng said he understands the reaction of the Thomasian community to Mariano.
“Of course, the initial reactions of the fans, they’ll get mad. They’ll bash players because they’re upset with the loss. But they have to understand that players have bad games also,” he said.
Mariano misfired on a potential game-winning three-pointer for UST at the end of regulation, then committed a turnover late in the overtime period that eventually led to Almond Vosotros hitting the go-ahead jump shot for La Salle.
After the game, both “Aljon Mariano” and “#PrayForAljonMariano” trended locally on Twitter as netizens debated the forward’s performance. Mariano wound up with only three points, missed all eight of his field goal attempts, although he did grab 10 rebounds – the most among the Growling Tigers.
Teng said he believed Mariano was having a “bad game” last Saturday.
“I think he did (have a bad game),” he told Davila. “I thought he wasn’t able to play his actual game in the finals. That’s why people are bashing him.”
“He missed a crucial shot, which he made before. So people are bashing him,” Teng said.
Asked how the team is handling the situation, Teng replied: “We just talked to Mariano. We tell him that he doesn’t need to mind those people because it’s normal for athletes to be bashed and criticized. We should accept that role.”
“If we made that shot, he would have been the hero of the UST community,” Teng said.
UST head coach Pido Jarencio had already taken the blame for the team’s defeat during the final match against the Green Archers, as he urged the Thomasian community to “stop cursing” Mariano.
Mariano’s mother also expressed her disappointment at the reaction of the UST community to her son.
“Now that his very own Thomasian community cursing him, I’m asking myself, ‘Is this the community na ipinagpalit niya sa iba,” she said.