RUMORS have swirled that Terrence Romeo's camp is this early asking for a raise after a sensational start to his PBA career - a claim a top GlobalPort official was quick to quash on Tuesday.
The pride of Imus, Cavite took the PBA by storm in his first three games, averaging a league-best 22.5 points while setting a career-high 34 points in a match against the Air21 Express.
However, the reigning UAAP MVP scored a grand total of five points in matches against Meralco and Rain or Shine just as talks first emerged that he wants more than the P9 million, three-year deal he signed with the Batang Pier after being made the fifth pick overall in the last rookie draft.
They Said It!
“Maximum pay na siya for a rookie, hindi na pwede taasan 'yun. Alam nila 'yun, bawal 'yun." - GlobalPort head of Basketball Operations Erick Arejola
A GlobalPort insider confirmed that Romeo's camp had indeed sent feelers for a raise, but the team's head of basketball operations, Erick Arejola, was quick to put out the fire.
“That’s not true. There’s no such demand from him. Hindi totoo yan. Mabait na bata si Terrence," said Arejola.
Arejola also pointed out that Romeo is already receiving the league maximum of P150,000 a month for rookies. "Maximum pay na siya for a rookie, hindi na pwede taasan 'yun. Alam nila 'yun, bawal 'yun,” he said.
The trusted official of team owner Mikee Romero also leapt to the defense of the 21-year-old prized catch out of Far Eastern University after his dismal performances the past two games.
Arejola blamed Romeo's struggles to his desire to fit in at GlobalPort.
“I am sure you’re aware of how boss Mikee wants everybody in the team to play within the system. Terrence is adjusting to it. He’s playing with the team, which is a totally different atmosphere from his college days,” said Arejola, who is also the head of Air Asia’s ground operations.
“To be fair to him, he’s exerting efforts in other departments like defense, assists and steals. Terrence brings other intangibles to the team other than his scoring,” said the former Dela Salle guard.
Meanwhile, two top PBA defenders said opponents are beginning to find a way to slow down the flamboyant guard.
“Siguro ganoon nga sa PBA, ang bilis mo ma-scout. Ngayon nababantayan na siya. Pero hindi naman niya kailangan umiskor eh. Ang daming scorers 'dun, nanalo nga sila sa amin kahit hindi siya umiskor ng marami,” said scrappy Rain or Shine guard Jireh Ibanes, who helped limit Romeo to just one point on Sunday.
“Para tumagal siya sa PBA, he should just do his thing and work harder and continue to be a team player. That will help him go a long way,” added the former UP Maroon.
Meralco guard John Wilson said the Bolts devoted a lot of time mapping out defensive plans against Romeo and his sparring partner RR Garcia.
“Siguro naging effective lang yung plano namin sa kanila. Kasi bago nila kami nakalaban, alam naman ng lahat ang kaya niyang gawin,” said Wilson.