CEBU – Flamboyant guard Terrence Romeo may be the biggest star of Gilas Pilipinas, but that doesn’t mean he’s excuse from the wrath of national head coach Tab Baldwin.
After blowing consecutive defensive assignments, the American-New Zealander lit against the rest of the team but singled out the blonde-haired bomber and told him to be more vocal in leading his five-man squad.
“Lead your team,” shouted Baldwin in Romeo’s face, not just in front of the team but in plain view of the 60-plus strong crowd that braved the late night to get a peek at Gilas.
According to veteran wingman Dondon Hontiveros, however, Baldwin’s outburst was part and parcel of Romeo’s development from an unconscious gunner to a full-fledged point guard, something the team needs when it heads over to China to compete in the Fiba Asia Men’s Championship on September 21.
“Nilagay si Terrence (Romeo) sa second group para mas ma-develop yung growth niya as a leader, para mas maging vocal siya,” revealed Hontiveros of the five-on-five drill that saw the former Far Eastern University stalwart pair up with several national team neophytes such as reserve forward Troy Rosario and Calvin Abueva.
“Kasi kung dito lang siya sa amin, makikinig lang siya sa amin whereas kung dun siya sa kabila, siya yung magdadala talaga ng team,” shared the Cebuano two-guard, who Romeo has taken a liking owing to their Visayan roots.
Romeo’s continued transformation into a true point guard is integral to the team’s success in the upcoming Olympic qualifying meet as Gilas utilizes him and combo guard Jayson Castro as its main ball-handlers.
Hontiveros also pointed out that for most of Romeo’s basketball career, he has been looked upon to score – and nothing else.
That has to change here in Gilas.
“All his life he has been the guy who is looked upon to score. Now he’ll be the guy to lead this team, not just necessarily to score but to orchestrate and put his guys in the right spot, be it on offense or defense,” said the Alaska veteran.
“Kami as veterans are just here to remind him of his responsibilities. Kung kailangan nya magalit to get us in our spots, then so be it.”