A phrase that gets thrown around a lot–a phrase we’re quite skeptical about just because it’s scientifically improbable–is “it runs in the blood.” We hear it from entertainment royalty, from business heirs, and now we’re hearing it from sports scion Jeric Teng.
When the now 25-year-old baller won Rookie of the Year as a UST Growling Tiger back in 2009, it was clear that he had a future in the country’s favorite sport. As the son of PBA veteran Alvin Teng (who had nabbed numerous titles for the San Miguel Beermen) and the older brother of DLSU Green Archer Jeron Teng, Jeric seems well on his way to proving the saying right.
In true athletic spirit, Jeric came in almost at 6pm, fresh out of practice from Bicutan.
We sat down to talk. But the more I listened to him, the less “it runs in the blood” made sense. Because for someone as passionate and dedicated to the sport as he is, he might as well be the son of a stock broker.
For our readers who don’t follow basketball, what is your career status right now?
After UST, I got drafted for Rain or Shine.
I don’t follow the PBA, but I know Rain or Shine because of my friend TY Tang.
Yes, TY, Chris Tiu…fellow Xavierians. But right now, I’m playing for Mahindra. It’s challenging–I feel like I need to prove myself more, and hopefully I’ll be given the chance to.
What made you want to be an athlete in the first place?
It runs in my blood, I guess.
I knew you were gonna say that. But what is it about the sport that made you fall in love?
Since I was a child, I’ve always enjoyed watching NBA games. I love everything about the sport–the competition, how you need to discipline yourself. You benefit from those character traits.
How has the sport changed you?
For you to be a successful player, you need to discipline yourself. I didn’t have the usual life of a high school student, partying and all that. It’s a sacrifice I needed to make in order to achieve what I’ve achieved.
What would you consider your greatest accomplishment thus far?
Just being able to play in the PBA. It’s always been my dream. I’m living the dream.
Speaking of the PBA, do you think nepotism played a role in your career, even going as far back as Xavier School?
You know what’s funny? The first time I tried out for the Xavier team, I got cut. I was really hurt, and it took me 3 years to recover. They definitely didn’t look at my last name. I’d like to believe me and my brother worked hard for everything we’ve accomplished.
I believe so too. Speaking of your brother, how do you feel about being constantly compared to Jeron?
We’ve been compared ever since high school. We played in the same team, and in college we played against each other [UST and DLSU], so we’re used to the comparison. It’s healthy competition that only makes us want to improve.
You’re 3 years older than him. Any advice you’d like to dish out?
Just work even harder. Harder than you’ve ever worked. The PBA is a totally different ball game–everyone’s better, faster, stronger.
Any mistakes you don’t want him to repeat?
There was a point where I got complacent. I don’t want him to do the same, because when the opportunity comes, he needs to be ready to grab it.
Are you close to your sister Almira? She’s into fashion blogging–light years away from sports.
We were all brought up to be close to each other. I’m very happy with what my sister is doing. She looks very happy.
Speaking of fashion, how does being an athlete (and a man) affect your sense of style?
I don’t know what you call it–I have “normal style” I guess? I wear shirts, shorts, rubber shoes, basically anything I can grab from the closet.
We made you wear H&M tonight. What do you think about the Swedish retail giant?
It’s laid back. We have some H&M clothes at home, actually.
How does H&M fit your style (if you’d call it that)?
They have a lot of basics. Things you can wear as daily getup. That’s what we have from them, at least.
Looks good on you, to be honest. Speaking of daily getups, what do you do on the daily?
I practice, go to the gym, go home, eat, and sleep.
How do you unwind?
I just eat and watch movies. I love movies. I go to the cinema 3 times a week.
You like eating. Do you watch your diet?
I don’t diet. I don’t easily gain weight, besides the fact that I practice a lot.
Your life is obviously consumed by basketball. Do you have future plans unrelated to it?
I want to put up a business soon. We’re still talking about it, but it might center around food.
What would you be doing right now if you had never played?
I probably went straight to becoming a businessman.
I think your fans are glad you didn’t. ~
Style tips from Jeric Teng
1. Stock up on well-fitting plain shirts–you can match them with jackets, polo shirts, or anything, really.
2. The V-neck long sleeved shirt is your best friend. Pair with skinny jeans during cozy weather, or use as a substitute for the collared shirt for semi-formal functions.
3. For casual days, keep it simple with a t-shirt, denim shorts and boat shoes.
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