TERRENCE Romeo reminded the current Gilas Pilipinas pool to draw motivation and inspiration from the former mainstays who were left out of the current batch of national team aspirants.
The GlobalPort superstar, one of the few holdovers in the 24-man PBA pool, underlined the huge void Marc Pingris, Gabe Norwood, and Ranidel de Ocampo are going to leave in the program, highlighting their contributions, particularly in the 2013 Fiba Asia Championship.
“Sobrang laking kawalan yung pagkawala nila, kasi sila yung dahilan kung bakit nakabalik tayo sa…kumbaga yung tinalo nila yung Korea, yun yung nag ano sa atin na lumaban ulit sa World Cup eh,” Romeo said on Tuesday, referring to the national team’s memorable semifinal victory over archrival South Korea in the 2013 showpiece in Manila. “Sobrang hindi matatawaran yung mga sacrifice na ginawa nila.”
Although saddened by the departure of the old guards, Romeo said he trusts returning coach Chot Reyes has a blueprint for Gilas' continued success.
“Nakakalungkot, pero I’m sure na may plano si Coach Chot, 'yung buong management, alam nila kung ano yung makakabuti para sa team Pilipinas,” he added. “Kaya lahat ng gusto nilang ipagawa, gagawin lang namin. Ibibigay lang namin yung best namin.”
Romeo also mentioned fellow playmakers Jimmy Alapag and LA Tenorio, who were also part of the 2013 team, as the players the current pool should draw inspiration from.
“Kung sino man yung mga mapipiling Final Twelve, lagi lang sanang tumatak sa isipan nila na yung mga player na nawala – sila Kuya Gabe, Kuya Jimmy, Kuya Del, Kuya LA, at Kuya Marc – yun yung mga player yung isa sa mga sa dahilan kung bakit tayo nakabalik sa world game,” Romeo said.
“Kaya dapat nandun yung pagiging thankful natin sa kanila at i-represent natin yung bansa, kung hindi man natin mapantayan, at least mahigitan natin kung paano nila ginawa,” he added.
The flamboyant 24-year-old combo guard conceded that he, himself, still has a learn from his fellow national playmakers, insisting he has yet to earn “veteran” status despite being in his third rodeo with team.
“Hindi pa siguro (ako veteran), kasi ang dami ko pa ring dapat matutunan,” said Romeo, who made his debut for Gilas 3.0 in 2015. “Ang dami ko pa ring dapat idagdag sa game ko, lalo na sa international – ang dami ko pang dapat matutunan kina Kuya Jayson, kina Kuya LA, Kuya Jimmy.”
“Kailangan ko pa rin talaga yung advice nila kasi every time na sasabak ka sa Gilas, panibago yan,” he added. “Hindi naman same game pa rin yung mangyayari. May mga iba’t-ibang preparation, may mga lumakas na team, so long process, pero kailangan mag-stick ka dun, talagang focused lang.”