PBA: Romeo downplays best scoring game for SMB

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 08 2019 05:12 PM

PBA: Romeo downplays best scoring game for SMB 1
SMB's Terrence Romeo puts up a shot against TNT in Game 2 of the PBA Commissioner's Cup finals. ABS-CBN Sports

MANILA, Philippines – Terrence Romeo was one of the heroes for San Miguel Beer in their hard-earned 127-125 double-overtime triumph over TNT KaTropa on Wednesday, which allowed them to tie the PBA Commissioner's Cup finals at one game apiece.

Romeo nailed the clutch three-pointer with 18.7 seconds to go in the fourth quarter that knotted the count at 106, and allowed the Beermen to force the first of two overtime periods.

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"Focus lang, kailangan kasi namin manalo eh. So, kailangan locked in talaga kami. Kailangan pahalagahan namin every possession," Romeo said when asked about his performance.

He credited SMB import Chris McCullough for helping him get free for his huge three-pointer at the end of the regulation, noting that their reinforcement set a good screen for him.

"Medyo nalito siguro 'yung dumedepensa, kung magsi-switch ba kay C-Mac, or buti na lang napalibre ako. Tapos thank God, sinamahan niya 'yung tira ko," said Romeo.

Even before he hit his clutch three-pointer, however, Romeo was already playing his best game as a Beerman. He was on fire from beyond the arc, and eventually finished with 29 points on an efficient 10-of-14 clip. He made six of his eight three-pointers in the game, tallying his most points in a San Miguel jersey.

Romeo's high-scoring performance was not at all surprising to San Miguel head coach Leo Austria, who has always known that the former UAAP Most Valuable Player was capable of such feats.

"We know na anytime, lalabas at lalabas ang laro niya. But what we're trying to do with him is play according to our system. And slowly, he's getting adapted to our way of basketball," Austria said of Romeo.

Austria praised Romeo for his willingness to embrace San Miguel's system, and noted that the guard has had no complaints especially as the Beermen keep on winning.

"I think he's getting matured na, and that's what he wants, I think," said the coach.

Romeo, who was acquired by San Miguel in a trade TNT in the offseason, stressed that scoring is the least of his concerns – not when he has so many teammates who can shine on offense.

"The whole time ko kasi sa San Miguel, never talaga ako na naglu-look to shoot na. Kasi nga, sa sobrang dami namin na scorer, so minsan titira lang ako 'pag may pagkakataon, pero most of the time, hinahanap ko 'yung mga kasama ko," he explained.

After Game 1 of the finals series, however, Romeo received some advice from San Miguel sports director Alfrancis Chua.

"Kinausap ako ni Boss Alfrancis. Sabi niya sa akin na hanapin ko 'yung scoring ko, para pagka nag-collapse sila sa akin, mas madali akong makakapasa sa mga teammates ko," said Romeo. 

"So ayun, kaya malaking pasalamat din kay Boss Al."

Romeo scored 11 points on 5-of-12 shooting in SMB's 109-96 loss in Game 1, but broke out in a big way in Game 2.

More than sustaining his own performance, Romeo is hopeful that San Miguel will be able to keep playing at a high level against an explosive KaTropa team. They had built a 17-point lead against TNT in the first half of Game 2, but saw that advantage evaporate amidst a hail of three-pointers by Troy Rosario in the fourth quarter.

"Noong 'yung TNT lumamang sa amin, sobrang hirap na hirap kami bumalik sa kanila. So kailangan ma-maintain namin. Kapag kami naman lumamang, ganoon din dapat," said Romeo. "Kailangan hindi na rin sila makabalik."

Game 3 of the best-of-7 series is on Friday at the Araneta Coliseum.

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