ROMEO Travis believes he simply needs to play much better for Alaska to stay alive.
The Aces import has been a shadow of his true self, a big reason why Alaska is on the brink of getting swept in the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals against San Miguel Beer.
Coming into the series averaging 24 points on 52.2 percent shooting, 12.9 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.9 steals, and 1.2 blocks in 34.7 minutes, Travis’ numbers have dropped to 18 points on 35.6 percent and eight boards, along with 3.7 assists, 1.7 steals, and 1.3 blocks even with more playing time at 38 minutes per game in the first three games - all of which the Aces lost.
“I’ve been playing horrible in the finals,” the Best Import awardee said after practice on the eve of Game Four on Friday. “I haven’t played good in quite some time, so I’m far from satisfied. I just got to be better. There’s no way around it. No excuses.”
Travis has been reluctant and lacking aggression especially down the stretch in the last two games where he seemed to settle for jumpers instead of taking it strong to the hoop.
“Minsan nagiging tentative siya sa mga galaw niya,” teammate Cyrus Baguio said. “Hindi naman ganun 'yung laro niya eh. Siguro credit na rin sa SMB, maganda yung depensa nila kay Travis.”
Travis insisted he doesn’t need to make any sudden changes in his game, but just needs to be confident in taking his shots.
“I just need to make my shots that I’ve been making all-conference long,” the lefty American forward said. “I’m getting good looks. They just didn’t go in. I can’t control the past. I can only control the future. I got to keep taking those shots and hopefully they go in.”
Aces coach Alex Compton defended Travis for seemingly settling for jumpers when the team needed him to be aggressive.
“He attacked a few times. He went at the rim,” Compton said. “But again, I don’t mind (that he’s settling for jump shots). If you look at his percentages, all-season he’s been great at the mid-range pick-and-pop. It’s one of his strengths.”
“So if I’m going to say don’t shoot that thing you’ve been shooting for the last twelve years, I don’t want us to settle for it on the first pass, but if we move the ball and guys are moving around and he gets a wide-open sixteen-footer, I’m going to tell him to shoot that all the time,” Compton added.
“He helped get us here by making open shots. I can’t stop him from taking them.”
What disappoints Compton is that their offense becomes stagnant once Travis receives the ball down low, leaving his import with few options.
“We pass it to him and then stand and watch. It’s just not how we play,” the American tactician said. “A lot of the baskets that we’ve scored off Romeo have been with other guys moving and he finds them.”
“But when we just throw it down there to him and then say, ‘Be our hero’, we just never taught that. That’s never our stance.”
Baguio admitted they need to keep the offense moving.
“Kailangan rin namin tulungan,” said the veteran shooting guard, who only contributed five points and one assist in 18 minutes in Game Three. “Hindi naman pwede ibigay lang namin sa kanya at siya na bahala.”
Still, Baguio expects more from their 30-year-old reinforcement.
“Siya yung import namin. Kailangan din mag-set siya ng tone para sa team para lahat gaganahan rin,” he said. “Kailangan maging aggressive siya kahit hindi lang sa offense, pero sa defense rin. Mahahawa rin 'yung ibang players.”
He expects nothing less on Friday.
“Pero tingin ko mag-a-all out na rin siya bukas,” the local star was quick to add.