MANILA, Philippines – San Miguel guard Terrence Romeo participated in his first practice with the national 3x3 pool on Monday, marking his return to the Gilas Pilipinas program after more than a year.
Romeo last played for the Philippines in the ill-fated game against Australia in the World Cup qualifiers last July 2018, and was one of 10 players thrown out in the wake of the brawl with the Boomers. He was given a 3-game suspension for his role in the fracas.
He has not played for Gilas since then, missing out on the roster that represented the Philippines in the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup. Romeo was not included in the pool for the Southeast Asian Games as well, but was put in the group for the 3x3 event.
"Excited (ako)," Romeo said on Monday evening, ahead of the team's practice at the Meralco Gym. "Mabibigyan ng chance na makapag-tryout ulit sa ano, makapagsuot ulit ng Pilipinas jersey."
"Na-miss ko mag-suot ng Pilipinas jersey," he admitted.
Romeo is no stranger to 3x3, having represented the country in the 2014 and 2015 FIBA 3x3 World Tour. His history as a top 3x3 player is no assurance that he will be selected for the SEA Games, however, and Romeo himself acknowledged that he has to re-familiarize himself with the sport.
"Ang tagal ko na ring 'di nakapaglaro, so kailangan ko pag-aralan," he said. "May mga bagong rules yata 'yung 3x3, so bago na ulit ako."
Joining Romeo in the 3x3 pool are: Baser Amer, Chris Newsome, CJ Perez, Mac Belo, Mo Tautuaa, Jason Perkins, Chris Banchero, Robert Bolick, Ian Sangalang, Anthony Semerad, and Raymond Almazan.
Romeo, now a two-time PBA champion with San Miguel, is aware that he is not guaranteed of a spot in the final line-up, despite his credentials.
"Sana maging deserving ako na makalaro. Kasi ang lalim ng pool eh, ang lalim ng line-up," said Romeo.
Asked if he sees the 3x3 competition as his way back to the Gilas Pilipinas men's team, Romeo admitted that the thought had crossed his mind.
"Okay kung ganoon, pero mas okay sana kung hindi maging ganoon," he said.
"Kumbaga dapat maging deserving din ako sa 5 on 5," he explained. "Hindi dahil nag-3x3 Gilas Pilipinas ako, kaya lang ako babalik sa Pilipinas ulit."
The scoring dynamo believes he still has time to work his way back into the 5-on-5 team, after proving that he deserves a spot in the 3x3 squad first.
"Bata pa naman tayo. Kailangan lang nating paghandaan, mag-ready," he said.
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