TERRENCE Romeo owns a wicked crossover, probably the best in the PBA today.
If you're not convinced, check out this jaw-dropping maneuver that saw him evade four defenders on his way to the basket for a reverse layup before the halftime buzzer of GlobalPort’s Commissioner’s Cup game against Rain or Shine last Tuesday.
Watch and be amazed:
Intrigued, we asked the flamboyant Batang Pier star who he thinks has some of the best crossover moves in the NBA as well as in the local pro league. He was gracious enough to answer.
Foremost on his NBA list was Kyrie Irving, his longtime idol, while recent Hall of Famer Allen Iverson came next, followed by Steph Curry, Chris Paul, and Brandon Roy.
Romeo mentioned Mark Caguioa, the Ginebra star whom he has had individual battles against since the GlobalPort playmaker took the league by storm, on top of his list. Jayson Castro, James Yap, and Paul Lee followed suit on the list that was rounded out by Alex Cabagnot.
He later explained his choices.
“Nung nasa college ako, sila 'yung mga napapanood ko na nakikita kong magaling mag-crossover,” the former UAAP MVP out of Far Eastern University said. “Sila yung nag-inspire sa akin na someday, sana makalaro ko at makuha 'yung crossover moves nila, matutunan ko.”
Check out some of the best moves from Romeo's crossover idols and see if you can spot the ankle-breakers the Batang Pier guard has taken in his arsenal. And hit us up on the comments if you agree with Romeo's picks or if you think he missed out on other players with deadlier handles.
Here's a trivia about Irving and Romeo: both are 24 years old and were born just a week apart. There must be something about that week in 1992 (and mid-March, in general, as you'll see later on) that created some of the best crossover artists in the planet. Irving has been bruising ankles and egos in the NBA since he entered the league in 2011 as the top draft pick. In his young career, he's made plenty of jaws drop with his aerial acrobatics, some servings of clutch hits, and his exquisite handles. One unforgettable highlight reminds us of a Pacquiao barrage where Irving strings together a number of moves that knocks Brandon Knight flat on the floor (it's play No. 5 on the clip below).
Iverson's Hall of Fame career is filled with memorable moments both on and off the court: big shots, emotional outbursts, as well as explosive crossovers. That number he did on Michael Jordan - as a rookie, at that - is unforgettable. There's also the time he broke both ankles of Antonio Daniels in one play (it's the third top play in the video below).
Curry is four years and two days older than Romeo. That's right, another top crossover killer born in the middle of March. The reigning NBA MVP, though, isn't just about ankle-breakers. There's plenty to love in his game: the impressive court vision, the knack for clutch threes, the insane range. But when it comes to breaking ankles, there is no better player in using to behind-the-back crossover to slay the defense other than Curry. Just ask Chris Paul.
Paul's known these days as the Clippers' point guard extraordinaire who controls air traffic in Lob City and takes over in the clutch when necessary. But Paul's no slouch in the handles department as well. In fact, his in-and-out dribble has decked at least two opponents in the compilation of his career's top plays alone. The number of ankles he's crossed and people he's put on skates in the NBA since 2005? Too many to count.
Roy was as complete a player as anybody when he entered the NBA in 2006. His all-around game was in full display in his first four years, winning Rookie of the Year honors and regularly named an All-Star during that span. The guy also had a knack for clutch daggers. But his knocked-up knees - with no cartilage left to protect his knee joints - derailed what could have been a great career. Still, his short stint left a mark on basketball fans, Romeo included. His crossovers aren't as fancy as the rest in this list, but he didn't need them to be fancy as long as it worked. And nothing in Roy's arsenal of handles had defenses staggering better than his between-the-legs stepback move to shake free for a pull-up jumper.
Caguioa's a fearless scorer who froze opponents, partly in fear but mostly because he just has that hesitation move before doing a killer crossover to zoom past the defense and get in the lane. He might not be that quick now, but in his prime, the crossover to a floater was close to unstoppable for the man known as 'The Spark.'
Castro's main weapon is his speed. Arguably the quickest guy in the PBA, Castro puts his quickness to good use as well. He'll tease defenders with crossovers before making a move when he sees the opportunity. Castro can also stop on a dime as quick as he can get to the paint, which only makes him a more dangerous threat when he has the ball.
Yap's not the quickest, flashiest guy on this list. And it might be a surprise seeing the two-time PBA MVP on a crossover idols lineup. But Yap has those humongous mitts that make ball control easier for the Star Hotshots superstar. And he has that nasty step-back move that has left countless defenders helpless as Yap swished numerous clutch jumpers using that off-the-dribble maneuver.
Lee crosses up defenders with shake-and-bakes, between-the-legs, behind-the backs, spin moves, the full arsenal of handles. (Yes, even the widely celebrated 'double crossover' in that TV commercial that has become a hit on meme land) The best part that makes Lee one of the best crossover artists in the land, one that Romeo looks up to, is that he's deceptively quick for someone his size, which lulls his opponents to sleep when he unleashes his moves.
Cabagnot is known more for hitting clutch jumpers than his crossovers, but his handles are underrated. He has a deadly effective in-and-out dribble that gives him plenty of room to shoot from the perimeter or dissect the defense for a better shot.