TERRENCE Romeo has had to deal with the "malas" label all over again as San Miguel stumbled out of the gates in the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup.
But four months later, the flamboyant guard is like a kid about to enter a toy store as he makes the first-ever finals appearance of his pro career when San Miguel plays Magnolia for the all-Filipino championship.
"Nararamdaman ko lang is excitement. Excited ako makapaglaro sa Finals," said the three-time league scoring champion.
The No. 5 overall pick of the 2013 PBA draft never came close to a title during his time with GlobalPort and TNT KaTropa. That explains the chip on his shoulder as critics labelled him a jinx to a team's title bid.
Romeo, though, said his primary goal in the best-of-seven inals against Magnolia is not to shed that tag but to do his part in a loaded San Miguel side that is aiming for an unprecedented fifth all-Filipino championship.
"Hindi ako maglalaro sa finals para ma-prove sa mga tao kung ano yung dapat kong i-prove," said the former Far Eastern University star guard. "Maglalaro ako sa finals para tumulong sa team at makuha yung goal namin."
"Kailangan ko lang maging professional, kung anuman yung role na binigay sa akin, kailangang gawin ko yung best ko para magampanan ko yun," he said.
Romeo has started to find his feet with the Beermen in the semifinals, where he averaged 13.0 points through five games counting a 20-point explosion in the 114-91 win over Phoenix Pulse in Game Four.
And expect nothing less from Romeo in the finals as he stands four wins away from a first-ever championship ring.
"Konti na lang, makukuha niyo na yung goal niyo. Lahat ng sacrifices na ginawa niyo, ito na yung time para ibigay namin yung best namin," he said. "Kung ano yung natutunan mo nung bata ka, ito na yung best time na ipakita mo lahat ng natutunan mo."