Terrence Romeo, without a doubt, is thrilled to be back on the Gilas Pilipinas program. But an aging frame and a bevy of injuries have truly humbled the San Miguel standout.
“I’m still confident. But of course, there are questions that linger in my mind,” he told the Inquirer in Filipino during a chat during one of the Nationals’ practices at PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.
“But at the same time, I know that the only way to answer those is when the games are on,” he went on.
Romeo’s last stint with the national team was back in 2018—when Gilas figured in an infamous brawl with visiting Australia during a Fiba (International Basketball Federation) World Cup Asian qualifying match at Philippine Arena in Bulacan.
Between that time and his recent call-up, Romeo also battled several injuries, the most threatening was a herniated disc that kept him on sick bay for nine months.
Now, he will have the opportunity to prove that he is still the same lethal player that many of his fans have been vouching for whenever basketball leaders put together a squad for international competitions.
“You know, I’m thankful that there are still a lot of people who believe in me,” he said. “This is a new chance for me. It’s been too long since I’ve played [for Gilas] and I’ve been wondering if I’m still fit for the big stage.”
“By the mercy of God, I’m healthy now. I’ve been away from competitive basketball. I played the PBA’s On Tour (tournament) for only five games. So now, the priority is to get back to my timing and rhythm,” he said.
Romeo is shaping up to be one of the biggest draws for the Asian Games-bound (Asiad) squad, alongside Barangay Ginebra’s beloved import and Gilas naturalized forward Justin Brownlee and another eccentric talent in Calvin Abueva.
And he’s welcoming every bit of pressure that comes with it.
“I’m OK with that,” he said with a smile. “That’ll be a challenge for me. I’m so excited to know what else I can offer as a player.”
Romeo is one of the many PBA standouts that make up Tim Cone’s squad for the Hangzhou, China, bid that begins against Bahrain on Sept. 26.
Also bunched with the Philippines in Group C are Thailand and Jordan. INQ
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