PBA rising star Terrence Romeo says he’s ready to embrace a new career challenge if given the chance to join the soon-to-be-formed Gilas Pilipinas 3.0.
The flamboyant GlobalPort sophomore confirmed he held meetings with Gilas coach Tab Baldwin, who, according to Romeo, encouraged him to open his mind to a different role as point guard of the national team.
“Kinausap nga niya ako at sinabi kung puwede raw ba ako mag-adjust sa point guard," Romeo told Spin.ph. "Sabi ko pag-aaralan ko kung ano ang matutulong ko sa team.”
Apparently, Baldwin feels Romeo needs to shift to point guard to find a place with the next Gilas side.
“Nakapag-usap kami, kinausap niya (Baldwin) ako. Kwentuhan lang tungkol sa Gilas rin pero sinabi niya na kailangan ko nga raw mag-adjust ng role. Point guard ang gusto niya, kasi sobrang maliit daw ako sa (2 guard) eh. Sabi ko naman kaya ko namang mag-adjust kung andyan na,” Romeo said.
The 23-year-old pride of Imus, Cavite revealed his meeting with Baldwin during the PBA All-Star Weekend in Palawan wasn't the first one. Their first one-on-one talk took place after GlobalPort's win against Barako Bull last February 18.
Needless to say, Romeo, who won MVP honors in the All-Star Game aside from winning the Three-Point Shootout, said he was inspired during the midseason classic because he knew Baldwin's attention was on him.
“Matagal na niya akong kinausap, game pa namin noon. Bago pa nag-Palawan. Yes, sa Palawan kinausap niya ulit ako. Kaya siguro mas inspired ako nung All Stars, andun yung factor na gusto mong mapatunayan na kaya mo,” Romeo said.
Asked if he is capable of changing from a volume shooter to a pass-first type of court general, the Batang Pier star guard nodded.
“Oo, Kaya ko namang mag-shift sa point guard, kahit pass first. 'Yan 'yung journey na next na gusto kong matutunan. Yan ang gusto kong pagdaanan ngayon. Kailangan kong pag-aralan talaga 'yun,” he said.
But the self-professed Mark Caguioa and James Yap fan bared he has not played the point-guard role since he began making a name for himself with the FEU High School varsity team eight years ago.
“Hindi ko pa nasusubukan 'yung ganoong role. Pero, if ever may spot nga ako sa Gilas, kaya ko namang gawin 'yun. Syempre goal ko 'yun eh, ang maging multi-faceted, saka pangarap ko na noon pang bata ako na makapaglaro sa Gilas,” he said, revealing his admiration for Jimmy Alapag’s court generalship.
With this new challenge, Romeo bared it will not be hard for him to adjust to a new role.
“Kung napag-aralan ko na shumoot ng shumoot, mapapag-aralan ko 'yung ganung bagay,” Romeo said. “Saka hindi naman kailangang pumasa ka ng pumasa agad, kailangang pag-aralan mo rin 'yung rhythm mo at yung sitwasyon para alam mo kung kelan ka titira at kelan ka papasa.”
Romeo has chosen words for critics who label him a ball hog.
“'Yung mga nagsasabi na hindi ko kayang mag-adjust from shooting guard to point guard, sana isipin nila na hindi pa naman tapos career ko, bata pa ako. Marami pa akong puwedeng matutunan at ma-i-adjust sa career ko,” said the one-time UAAP MVP.
If Romeo needs some guidance on a role shift, he need not look far.
Gilas Pilipinas mainstay Paul Lee, who moved from '2' guard to point guard when he moved up to the PBA, said Romeo can do the same because of his superb ball-handling skills and athleticism.
“Kung pa-praktisin niya, magagawa niya. Magaling din naman ang handling niya sa bola. Ako rin ganyan din naman ako nagsimula. Hindi rin talaga ako point guard. Nahirapan rin ako,” said the former UE Warriors star.
“Minsan kasi talaga mahirap, makakalimutan mo kasi minsan na ikaw pala dapat magpasa ng bola. Pero pag na-embrace mo na ikaw pala yung point guard, magagawa mo 'yung role mo sa team. Pag ginusto mo talaga, magagawa mo,” he added. “Tiyagaan lang.”
Lee bared that it was only at Rain or Shine that he learned to embrace the point guard role, something that he admitted did not come easy.
“Mahirap din kasi 'yung shift, pero 'pag nagamay mo na mas magiging okay ka bilang player, kasi instant combo guard ka na. kahit saan ready ako,” Lee bared.
“Kaya ni Terrence 'yan, magaling siya mag-dribble eh. 'Yun naman ang importante, tapos shifty pa siya, hindi mo alam kung saan siya aatake,” he added.