MANILA, Philippines -- Alaska head coach Jeff Cariaso is glad to see Jeron Teng contribute in other aspects of the ball game, even as their young forward struggles to regain his shooting touch.
Teng scored just nine points against Phoenix Super LPG on Thursday, making only two of the 10 shots he took. But he added six rebounds and six assists, and his renewed aggression in the third quarter helped the Aces recover after a slow start.
Vic Manuel eventually finished off the Fuel Masters, scoring 10 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter for a 105-97 win.
For Cariaso, Teng's contributions cannot be overlooked.
"I just kinda remind him that he's much more than just being able to score," said the coach. "JT (Teng) has worked so hard with his shot, he worked so hard on his offense."
"But he's really awesome on the other aspects of his game," he stressed.
In the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup, Teng is averaging just 10.9 points per game and shooting just 39.1% from the field. He has not cracked double digits since scoring 13 points in an 89-88 win over Rain or Shine a week ago.
But he is still contributing 4.9 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game, while working hard on the defensive end.
"You know, we ask everyone to defend, to be ready to defend, to understand that's what's gonna keep you on the court," said Cariaso. "I think he (Teng) is understanding that."
"He's our big three (small forward), so you know, rebounding is natural for him," he added. "If you don't strictly focus on just your shots, you could bring out the other aspects of your game."
Even with Teng still searching for his rhythm on offense, the Aces have gotten going in the All-Filipino Cup. Their win over Phoenix Super LPG hiked their record to 5-3, putting them closer to a spot in the quarterfinals.
Teng will look to break his slump on Sunday when the Aces play Barangay Ginebra.