MANILA, Philippines—San Miguel Beer faced a lot of questions from onlookers when it traded for the enigmatic yet dazzling guard Terrence Romeo in the offseason.
But amid all the noise and criticisms, the Beermen remained unbothered. All along, they knew exactly what they’re going to get.
After all, it’s no secret what Romeo can do with a basketball and he showed that again Tuesday in the semifinal stage.
“I mean you guys know what Terrence can do. He is one of the best in the country at putting the ball in the hole. He’s proven that through many years, he’s won many scoring championships. Everybody knows what type of player he is,” said San Miguel guard Chris Ross after his team’s 114-91 beatdown of Phoenix in Game 4 at Cuneta Astrodome.
Romeo unleashed a game-high 20 points, including 17 in the third quarter, where the Beermen’s 11-point lead ballooned to 26.
There’s no denying that Romeo ranks among the league’s best offensive players but the knack has been his shaky relationship with his teammates and coaches from his time with GlobalPort, the team that drafted him fifth overall in 2013, to his short uneventful stint with TNT where the two sides had a nasty fallout.
But the Romeo experiment has been a success so far for San Miguel, who added a lethal offensive spark off the bench to its already loaded roster.
“I got nothing but praise for him. Since he’s been with us, he’s been one of the best teammates you can have,” Ross said. “He’s adapting to our style of play and he’s adapting to what we do as a team.”
“He’s been with us for such a short time and he’s made so many strides in his game to fit with us and he’s a welcoming piece for us.”
Playing his best game yet as a member of the Beermen, Romeo deflected the credit to his teammates particularly Ross.
“Credit to my teammates especially to my brother Chris Ross because he really looks for me and he gives me the confidence to just keep playing my game,” Romeo said in Filipino.
SMB coach Leo Austria also raved about Romeo’s play in the third quarter which he believed became the “turning point” in Game 4.
“He was our main man tonight,” Austria said.
For Romeo, however, he remains just part of the main core’s supporting cast.
“The core of this team is still the first five. We’re just here to give them a good rest so that they’ll have fresh legs when they go back in,” he said. “I’ve accepted my role with the team. I’m okay with whatever role I play as long as it will help the team win.”
Four months ago, TNT traded away Romeo for reserves David Semerad and Brian Heruela and a 2021 first round pick.
On Tuesday night, Romeo finds himself just a win away from booking his first trip to the finals.
“My teammates have won many championships. They already know what it feels like to be in the finals. Me, if ever, it will be just my first time,” Romeo said. “But I’m not thinking about that yet. Phoenix will be prepared and we need to be focused on our next game.”