TERRENCE looked every inch like a man reborn when he showed up for his first practice with TNT KaTropa on Wednesday morning.
New team. New uniform. New attitude?
A brooding figure in his last months with GlobalPort, the five-year guard looked rejuvenated as he joined his new team just a day after he and Yousef Taha were traded to the flagship team of the MVP group for Mo Tautuaa and two future draft picks.
"Masaya syempre," the flamboyant guard said when asked about his thoughts at the end of practice at TNT, where he is reunited with former Far Eastern University coach Nash Racela and former Tamaraws teammates RR Garcia and Roger Pogoy.
"Ayun magkakasama kami nung mga dati kong teammates tapos dati ko rin naging coach si Coach Nash, so kailangan, ang pinasok ko sa isip ko maging deserving ako sa gagampanan kong role kasi kailangan naming alamin yung role naming isa’t isa eh," he added.
At TNT, the 26-year-old will also be linking up with Gilas Pilipinas teammate Jayson Castro, giving the KaTropa potentially one of the most explosive backcourt pairs in the league.
However, Romeo quickly brushed off suggestions that he and Castro can relive the latter's successful partnership with former TNT captain Jimmy Alapag.
"Naku, iba pa rin yung Kuya Jimmy, tsaka yung tandem nila kasi talagang nakapag-champion na sila ng ilang beses eh, so ano siguro more on ano eh… yung sa part ko kasi si Kuya Jayson kahit anong mangyari si Kuya Jayson na ‘yan eh.
Kumbaga sobrang laki na ng napatunayan niya sa PBA, kakaiba na yung nagawa niya even sa national team, so sa part ko kailangan makatulong ako sa kanya, kailangan madagdagan ko- mapagaan ko yung trabaho niya, yun yung pinaka-iniisip ko," Romeo added.
Romeo, though, agreed that teaming up with Castro at TNT will be beneficial down the road for Gilas.
"Mas madali namin makukuha 'yung chemistry ng isa’t isa kasi magkasama kami palagi ngayon sa practice tapos ‘di kami gaanong maninibago pagdating naming ng Gilas kasi halos same lang naman 'yung nira-run, parang dribble-drive din," he said.
Romeo won the league scoring title thrice in four-plus seasons at GlobaPort, but the Cavite-raised guard sees no need to pile up the points in a talented TNT side that also has Kelly Williams, Troy Rosario, and newly acquired guard Jericho Cruz.
"'Di ko binibigyan ng pressure yung sarili ko kasi ‘di naman to basketball na ako lang mag-isa eh against sa ibang team, andyan sila Kuya Jayson, andyan sila RR, sila Jericho, lahat yan, sila Kuya Kelly, Troy, lahat yan capable of ano … so mas mapapagaan sa akin.
"Hindi yung kailangan mag mindset ako na laging dapat ah every game kailangan ganito ang scoring ko, kailangan ganito ako ka-aggressive sa offense. Hindi, I need to be ano, more smart. Hindi na ‘to katulad ng Globalport na kailangan every game dapat ganito yung average ko para at least manalo kami or maganda kalabasan nung game namin. Dito ibang story na."
Although Romeo said he isn't thinking too far ahead, the TNT new boy made no effort to hide how much he wants a first-ever league championship.
"Naging Mythical (Team) na ako, naging scoring champ, Most Improved Player, so ano na lang… ang pinaka-pangarap ko na lang is makapaglaro ng finals or makuha yung championship. Yun talaga yung pinaka-dream ko," he said.
And why didn't he mention former coach Pido Jarencio in his farewell message to GlobalPort.
"Ah, hindi sinabi ko naman (na thank you) sa lahat ng naging coaches ko, so para sa akin ano kasi, kailangan kung ano man yung nangyayari sa’yo, kailangan yung tignan mo yung nasa harap mo lang, huwag mo na tingnan ung nasa likod, lalo na’t negative.
"Mag-focus nalang ako dito sa positive tapos ayun nga, sana mag-grow pa ako."