Like Fajardo, Romeo and Abueva tipped by Baldwin to make star turn post Gilas
“Calvin and Terrence in my opinion, they will see the same sort of leaps forward as basketball players (like June Mar Fajardo) because of this experiences, and yes they are maturing,” says Gilas coach Tab Baldwin. Jerome Ascano/ Dante Peralta

TAB Baldwin sees Terrence Romeo and Calvin Abueva becoming even better players following their stints with Gilas Pilipinas once they return to their PBA mother ballclubs.

Big man June Mar June Mar Fajardo served of San Miguel served as Baldwin’s perfect role model.

“We’ve seen it already among star players. We saw with June Mar how he grew up playing international basketball. His game changed and his confidence grew, that comes from maturity, that comes from experience,” said Baldwin of the 6-foot-11 former Gilas back-up center.

Although sparingly used by coach Chot Reyes – Baldwin’s predecessor – during his stint with the national team in the 2013 Fiba Asia in Manila and last year’s Fiba World Cup in Spain, the former star of University of Cebu went on to win two Most Valuable Player awards and two championships with the Beermen following his stint with Gilas.

Baldwin, a Gilas consultant during the time Fajardo was playing for Reyes, sees the same thing happening to both Romeo and Abueva, who were among the rookie players of Gilas 3.0 that captured the silver medal in the recent Fiba Asia Olympic qualifying meet in Changsa, China.

“Calvin and Terrence in my opinion, they will see the same sort of leaps forward as basketball players because of this experiences, and yes they are maturing,” said the 57-year-odl globetrotting mentor.

The Gilas coach in particular, noted how Romeo had began to develop the mentality of a true point guard during his time with the team, one who involves his team more compared to the one-on-one player he was known for even during his time with Far Eastern University in college.

Although the 22-year-old Romeo was not as explosive in the Olympic qualifier as he was when he became the darling of the crowd in the Jones Cup, the combo guard has nonetheless became an effective substitute for star Jayson Castro at the point.

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“Terrence is talking more on the floor, he’s thinking the game of basketball now. He’s started to manage the game from the point position and he’s now thinking the game. He’s getting better at identifying what he’s got to do on the floor as a court general,” said Baldwin.

‘He’s got a long way to go, but he’s getting better.”

Romeo finished as the third best scoring player of Gilas in the Fiba Asia with an average of 12.2 points behind naturalized player Andray Blatche (17.8) and Castro (16.7).

He also finished second behind Castro (2.6) in assists with a 1.4 average.

Abueva on the other hand, is next to Blatche (9.2) to Blatche in rebounding for Gilas behind his 6.2 average despite being an undersized power forward at 6-foot-2.

Baldwin stressed the numbers are proof of how the two players’ games had slowly matured in just a short, two-month stint with the national team.

“These are aspects of maturity that particularly these two players had question marks over them about. They still do, but there’s progress,” he said.

“Certainly, there’s growth.”

Follow the writer on Twitter: @gerardmos