WINNING has definitely changed Terrence Romeo for the better.
In two conferences with San Miguel, the flamboyant guard has collected two PBA championships and a first-ever Finals MVP award after 14.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 2.3 assists in the Beermen's six-game win over his former team TNT KaTropa in the Commissioner's Cup title playoffs.
Not bad for a guy who scored a lot of points but rarely tasted success in his first two stops and built an unsavory reputation as a ‘ball hog.’
“I’m proud of him,” said Romeo’s teammate Marcio Lassiter. “He played so well. He had great moments for us especially in Game 5. He came in especially in that second quarter and kept us in the game. Throughout the series, he was really a huge spark plug for us. He really put his stamp on Game Six.”
More than his play on the court, what impressed his teammates was the maturity that Romeo showed while being immersed in the winning culture at San Miguel.
In so short a time, the former UAAP MVP appears to 'get it.'
“Para sa akin, kapag iniisip mo kung paano kayo mananalo, mas makakalimutan mo na kailangan ikaw ang bida,” said the high-scoring guard. “Hindi kailangan na ikaw ang bida, ang importante, manalo ‘yung team.”
“May mga games na four attempts lang ako, two attempts lang ako pero panalo kami. May mga times din na kailangan scoring ko, nakaka-deliver ako. Hindi na mahalaga kung sino maraming points o sino ang best player sa game.”
San Miguel point guard Alex Cabagnot is one of those who appreciate Romeo's progress.
“I’m so happy for him. I think everybody knows his story with Talk ‘N Text. Me being like an older guy, always cheering for him. Mahirap ‘yung pinagdaanan niya. Even for me, it’s overwhelming that he won this. He played a great series,” said Cabagnot.
Romeo said he learned a lot from the unselfish teammates like Cabagnot and June Mar Fajardo.
“Thinking ng bawat isa sa amin, lahat ng players sa SMB, kahit si June Mar na pinakamagaling sa liga, ganun din ang thinking niya. Napaka-unselfish. Never siya nag-isip na kailangan ko gawin ‘to, kailangan ko gawin ‘yan. Gusto lang niya manalo.
"‘Yun ang natutunan ko, ‘yung na-adopt ko sa SMB, ‘yung culture na laging panalo at kailangan mong maging unselfish,” said Romeo.
Cabagnot believes the playoff experience hastened the maturity process for the six-year pro out of Far Eastern University.
“I think when you get finals experience, you get into the finals, the maturity gets a little higher. It’s not necessarily us, me or anybody else. Just being in a series, last conference, that definitely adds to the maturity now.
"I don’t want to take any credit for it. None of that. I think none of my teammates should. But he did it. I’m very, very proud of him,” said Cabagnot.