TERRENCE Romeo admitted having to swallow his pride and do a lot of sacrifices just to win his first-ever PBA championship.
From a volume shooter, Romeo had to give up the touches in favor of rebounding and defense at San Miguel in a move that bore fruit when he finally bagged his first PBA title thanks to the Beermen's thrilling 72-71 Game Seven win over the Magnolia.
Romeo, the league’s three-time scoring champion, finished with only four points but grabbed seven rebounds and had three assists while chasing Magnolia’s pesky backcourt of Jio Jalalon and Mark Barroca all over the court.
It was all worth it.
“Ito ang first championship ko simula ng naging basketball player ako. Sa barangay lang ako nagtsa-champion,” he disclosed. “Simula high school, college, PBA D-League days, lahat. Ito yung unang championship ko sa PBA ko nakuha.”
And as they say, the first is always the best.
“Siguro sa lahat ng bagay yung first talaga ang pinakamasarap. Kahit saan, kahit pagkabata mo, kahit saang bagay. Yung pinaka-una yung pinakamasarap,” said the former UAAP MVP.
It didn’t come easy especially for a player who used to be only effective when the ball is in his hands.
“Maraming sacrifices, maraming learnings,” said Romeo. “Before sa mga teams ko, known ako na scorer, madalas sa akin yung bola.
“Pero ngayon nagkaroon ako ng maturity. Hindi madali. Nakaisip ako ng paraan na if ever man na hindi ako makakatulong sa scoring, dumidepensa ako, kasi yun lang ang isang alam kong way para makatulong sa team.”
Having tasted the championship feeling, Romeo admitted wanting for more.
“Pag nasarapan ka sa una, gugustuhin mo ulit na makuha. Masarap mag-champion, kaya gusto kong ulit-ulitin,” said the shooting guard out of Far Eastern University.
At the same time, Romeo dedicated his first championship to all those who had been openly bashing him for being 'bad luck' to teams.
“Lahat ng haters ko mag-ingay,” he said. “Parang gusto kong sabihin sa kanila ngayon na paki-message ako ulit. At sa pose ko ng picture (with trophy), paki-message ako ulit at sabihin nila lahat ng gusto nila.
“Hindi na nila masasabi na hindi ako magtsa-champion.”