AWED by the mere thought of playing against one of his idols and feeling the pressure of playing before more than 10,000 fans at the Mall of Asia Arena, GlobalPort rookie Terrence Romeo didn't have the best of starts on Thursday night.
But once he started to find his rhythm and get his feet under him, Romeo turned from one scared kitten to a roaring tiger against Ginebra star Mark Caguioa and the highly-fancied Barangay Ginebra Kings.
The 5-11 guard out of Far Eastern University fired 22 of his team-high 27 points in the second half, almost single-handedly pulling off a gigantic upset win for a Globalport side which trailed by as much as 21 points at one point in the third quarter.
They Said It!
“Sobrang idol ko po si Kuya Mark at nakalaban ko siya ng ganun. Even kahit naka-side na tira niya nasu-shoot niya pa rin." - Globalport rookie Terrence Romeo on playing against Ginebra star Mark Caguioa
But in the end, Romeo admitted he was taken to school by no less than Caguioa, one of his acknowledged PBA idols who bailed Ginebra out with his own late-game one-man show in a 109-104 victory.
“Na-challenge po talaga ako, pero kahit anong mangyari, masu-shootan ka po talaga ni Kuya Mark (Caguioa),” said Romeo after watching Caguioa score 14 of his game-high 29 points in the endgame.
"Walang naman pong magbabago eh, Mark Caguioa is Mark Caguioa."
Later, Romeo said he was simply awed by Caguioa’s air of confidence, which he said only bolstered his admiration and respect for a player he had closely followed since he was young.
“Sobrang saya po siyempre,” Romeo said on his virtual shootout with Caguioa. “Di ko po maipaliwang yung nandun lang sa katawan ko. Sobrang idol ko po si Kuya Mark at nakalaban ko siya ng ganun. Even kahit naka-side na tira niya nasu-shoot niya pa rin."
Romeo, now the league's leading scorer after with a 24.7-point average through his first three games as a pro, promised to work even harder in practice, in anticipation of his second meeting with Caguioa and the Gin Kings next January.
“Sabi niya po sa akin, 'Kita uli kami sa next game,'" the spike-haired GlobalPort rookie said. "'Mas pagbubutihin ko pa sa susunod,' sabi ko sa kanya,” he said.