MANILA, Philippines – Winning with San Miguel has given Terrence Romeo a renewed perspective on basketball.
Romeo admitted he no longer cares about being the hero all the time as he thrived in an off-the-bench role on the way to capturing his second straight PBA championship with the Beermen.
Flourishing as a team star during his five-season stint with NorthPort that saw him win 3 straight scoring titles, Romeo was forced to adjust to a smaller role when he was traded by TNT to San Miguel last year.
His sacrifice paid off as he clinched his first PBA crown in the Philippine Cup before tasting glory anew when the Beermen dispatched his former team KaTropa for the Commissioner's Cup title.
"Para sa akin, 'pag iniisiip mo na paano kayo manalo, mas makakalimutan mo na kailangan ikaw ang bida eh," Romeo told reporters.
(For me, when you only think of how your team will win, you'll forget that you need to always be the hero.)
"Kumbaga 'di mo kailangan laging bida, ang importante manalo 'yung team. May mga games na 4 attempts, 2 attempts [lang ako] pero panalo kami."
(It doesn't matter if you're not the hero, what's important is the team wins. There had been games where I only shot 4 or 2 attempts but we still won.)
Romeo used as prime example June Mar Fajardo, whose unselfish nature has led San Miguel to seizing 8 championships in the last 14 conferences.
"Lahat ng players ng SMB, kahit si June Mar na pinakamagaling sa liga, ganoon din thinking niya – napaka-unselfish. Never siyang nag-iisip na kailangan ganito, kailangan ganiyan. Gusto lang niyang manalo."
(Everyone in this team has the same mentality. Even June Mar, who is the best player in the league, is very unselfish. He doesn't demand that this should happen, that should happen. He just wants to win.)
That, though, did not prevent Romeo from rising to the occasion in the best-of-seven finals series.
He averaged 14.8 points, 4.3 assists, and 2.3 rebounds in 6 games to be hailed the PBA Press Corps Finals Most Valuable Player – the first in his career.
But Romeo did not get caught up in the hoopla of potentially notching the award, keeping himself focused on the task at hand.
"Ang nasa isip ko is dapat ready ako na makatulong sa team. Kailangan every time pumapasok ako, 'di bumambaba 'yung team. Kailangan name-maintain para pagbalik ng first group, andoon ulit," he said.
(I only think of being ready to help the team. Every time I'm inside the court, the team's play shouldn't go down. We need to always maintain our level of play so when the first group comes back, we're still in the game.)
"Para sa akin, na-adapt ko na 'yung culture nila na [para manalo], unang una, kailangan maging unselfish ka."
(For me, I've already adapted to their culture that in order to win, you have to be unselfish first.) – Rappler.com
Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.