TAIPEI - Terrence Romeo remains a question mark for Gilas Pilipinas' final two games in the 37th Jones Cup owing to an ankle injury he suffered in the loss to Iran on Thursday afternoon.
That piece of news should break the hearts of Taiwanese fans, who have come to fall in love with the flamboyant Filipino guard with the spiked hair and blonde streaks, ever since he unleashed his brand of basketball in this annual conclave for the first time on Sunday.
The 5-10 GlobalPort star has been drawing the attention of Taipei-based Pinoys and locals alike, and Filipino sportswriters have been constantly asked questions by Taiwanese media about this little guard who has wowed fans with his audacious drives and pinpoint shooting.
As further proof of his popularity, organizers chose to conduct a courtside interview with Romeo that was heard from the public address system inside the Xinzhuang Stadium, moments after Gilas escaped with a 92-88 victory over New Zealand on Friday afternoon.
Romeo didn't even play in the game due to his injury.
At the end of the interview, the pretty Taiwanese interviewer was bold enough to ask, 'Romeo, can I be your Juliet?' amid cheers from the crowd.
Blushing but not losing his composure, Romeo proceeded to thank the interviewer and the crowd and urged them to "keep supporting Gilas Pilipinas."
As for his injury, Gilas team manager Butch Antonio said there was nothing seriously wrong with Romeo's foot - something that was confirmed later by coach Tab Baldwin who expects his guard to play in the team's final two games against a US selection and Taipei's Team B.
However, Romeo told Inquirer reporter Musong Castillo on his way out of the stadium that his left ankle is still swollen and he isn't sure about his status for the next two games.
"Ayaw ko namang ilaro ito ng ganito," he said.
Here's hoping Romeo is healthy enough to play before the end of this tournament. Otherwise, it will surely break a lot of Taiwanese fans' hearts.