Terrence Romeo vows to rejoin Gilas in time for third window of World Cup qualifiers
Terrence Romeo cheers on Gilas from ringside. Jerome Ascano

TERRENCE Romeo was so pumped up after Gilas Piliinas' 89-84 win over Japan that capped off the second window of the Fiba World Cup qualiifers that he can't wait to return to national duty.

The national team standout guaranteed his availability for the third window of the qualifier in July as he finally gets back to full fitness after a knee injury that has sidenlined him since November.

"Oo, okay na (tuhod ko)," said Romeo, who watched the Gilas' game from the stands at the Mall of Asia Arena on Sunday night.

"By that time sana... Sige, mapa-promise ko siguro ready na 'ko (sa third window,)" he added. "Ayun, sana makatulong ako sa team."

The GlobalPort superstar praised his Gilas brothers for bucking a flat start before weathering a late storm by the visiting Japanese side.

"Sobrang nakaka-proud sila," said Romeo, . "Ibang klase. Nagde-deliver sila sa time na kailangang kailangan natin sila. Talagang proud ako sa kanila."

But asked if he was raring to suit up when Gilas fell into an early 16-point hole, Romeo was hardly worried, especially down the stretch when his senior, Jayson Castro, rescued the squad once again with the clutch floater with 10.6 seconds left.

"Lagi naman nandun (yung desire maglaro), lalo na pag nanood ka, laging gusto mo na makatulong sa team, pero nandun naman yung tiwala ko sa team, na alam ko na hindi sila ganun [lang] maggi-give up," Romeo said. "Lahat sila malalaki na experience nila, especially kay kuya Jayson."

"Talagang tagpagligtas ng bayan si kuya Jayson," he added. "Ibang klase talaga siya, kaya para sa'kin hindi ganun kalaki yung kaba ko lalo na nung nakita kong nasa kanya yung bola nung last possession."

So does that make Gilas better when he rejoins Castro and Co. in July when the Filipino dribblers host Australia and take on Chinese Taipei?

"'Di ko alam. Di naman... Di ko sinasabing malaking factor yung pagdating ko," Romeo said. "Ang gusto ko lang, kung sakaling makakarating ako by that time, is makatulong lang ako. Hindi ko alam kung anong magiging effect nun, pero ang importante lang sa 'kin is makatulong sa game na yun."

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