GLOBALPORT never wanted to trade Terrence Romeo, believing to the very end that he and Stanley Pringle are the cornerstones of the franchise despite reaching the PBA semifinals only once during their time together.
But it was Romeo himself who made the team feel that he no longer wanted to be a Batang Pier.
On Tuesday, the league’s four-time scoring leader finally got his wish when the team sent him to TnT Katropa along with Yousef Taha for big man Mo Tautuaa and two draft picks in 2020 (first round) and 2021 (second round), respectively.
“We’re grateful for what Terrence brought to Globalport. Alam naman ng lahat na ayaw siyang i-trade ng management,” related a high-ranking team official.
“Pero it was he who asked for a trade. So wala na kaming magagawa. Mahirap din naman na nasa team mo yung player na ayaw na sa iyo.”
Sources around the league disclosed that the 26-year-old Romeo has been asking for a trade as early as last year’s All Star game. But management remained adamant on keeping the player who it selected in the first round (5th overall) of the 2013 draft.
“Boss Mikee (Romero) repeatedly said in the past that he wouldn’t trade Romeo,” said the same Globalport executive.
But Romeo's trade demand grew louder throughout the season, so much so that the Batang Pier finally explored trades for their top gunner in the market.
To the team’s surprise, there was hardly any, the official said.
It didn’t help, too, that Romeo began the league’s 43rd season on the injury list owing to a nagging injury that kept him out for most of the Philippine Cup eliminations. Worse, he got into an ugly shouting match with coach Pido Jarencio witnessed on national television in just his second game back.
Romeo, apparently, resented not having enough touches, including the possession prior to the shouting match when Jarencio let sophomore guard Jonathan Grey bring the ball downcourt instead of him.
“Bakit ayaw mo na akong pahawakin ng bola? Ano?” several witnesses quoted Romeo as telling the Globalport coach.
The incident proved to be the last straw that convinced management it was probably time for the team to let go of the talented shooting guard out of Far Eastern University.
The Batang Pier finally did find a willing taker in TnT Katropa, whose coach, Nash Racela, was the former coach of the Tamaraws.
It took several revisions for the trade to finally materialize, ending a five-year partnership between Romeo and the Batang Pier, who together, made the semifinals of the 2016 Philippine Cup – the first and only stint for the franchise – after beating Barangay Ginebra in a do-or-die quarterfinals game.
Despite doing the deal with a heavy heart, management nonetheless see the situation as a ‘win-win’ for both player and team.
“It’s sad and frustrating to let go of one of the hottest players in the land, but we will not stand in the way of one’s desire and happiness,” said Globalport team manager Bonnie Tan in an official statement following the trade.
“We have so much respect for the guy, but we as a team, must move on towards our main goal, which is to get better and contend for our first-ever championship.”