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The Final Score: Jeric Teng aches for second chance in last year

July 16, 2013 9:32am

Blind side hits are the worst. People have no chance to brace for the impact. Life can't even flash before their eyes. There are no warnings. There are only consequences. Ready or not, here it comes.

UST forward Jeric Teng knows how it feels. One moment, he stands tall and looks forward. The next moment, he is down on the floor with his immediate and long-term future in doubt. Jeric, who is playing in his last year in the UAAP, closes his eyes, opens his mouth, grabs his right shoulder because he knows it doesn't feel like it's supposed to feel. Yet more than the physical pain, it's the torment brought about by fear that causes him to grimace.

Fate strikes, the body takes a blow, a season changes, all in a split-second of fury.

[Related: Jeric Teng injury identified as anterior labrum tear, will miss more games]

"Tinamaan talaga ako ng malakas," Jeric recalls. "Doon pa lang sa push, I felt something on my shoulder na. Ang lakas talaga. Sobrang lakas talaga."

With 1:20 remaining in the second quarter, NU's Jeoffrey Javillonar crashed into an unsuspecting Teng. It was a strange sequence. They were nowhere near the basket. The incident happened near the top of the key, one step from the three-point line. They were not about to contest a long rebound. There was no mad scramble. I suppose all Javillonar wanted was to get Teng out of the way. I suppose all Teng wanted was to have had the chance to avoid Javillonar altogether.

"Alam na ng Diyos kung sinadya niya o hindi," Jeric, who sustained an anterior labrum tear, says. "Of all people, ako pa talaga tinamaan. Nakaka-frustrate."

Pushing in basketball, blind side or otherwise, happens all the time. I can easily believe that players push other players intentionally. However, I find it hard to believe that players push other players to intentionally damage body parts. Was it a dirty play? Puwede. Was Javillonar determined to end Teng's season with one blind side shove? Hindi naman siguro. Physical play involving multiple players in multiple situations can lead to multiple possibilities. I'm certain Jeoffrey wishes he could have that push back as well.

"If you're an athlete, hindi mo maiiwasan ang injury every time you play," Jeric realizes. "There's always a risk. You just have to accept it."

Jeric is going to miss the remainder the first round. He still attends practice but can only provide verbal support. It hurts to lift his right arm. It hurts even more to think about the indefinite number of games he might miss. For now, it's all about ice then rest, ice then rest. He aims to return sometime in the second round. It's the best case scenario.

"I really want to play for UST kasi gusto nila manalo ng championship ulit," Jeric admits. "Feeling ko may chance yung team namin. So I'm focusing on returning. I'm very confident na makakabalik ako. Kasi it's my last year and I really want to play for the people who support us." - GMA News
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