There are some players that you just know can score. Terrence Fortea is one of them. I first observed him at the SLAM Rising Stars Combine. I watched him drain triple after triple with the ease of wide-open layups. Each ball splashed through the net with the butter-like smoothness that only natural shooters possess. When it comes to games, Terrence only needs a sliver of space to unleash this quick-release, textbook jumper, demoralizing opponents and crowds alike with momentum-shifting threes.
It would be lazy to compare the 5’11” point guard to Steph Curry, but some similarities are uncanny –– even beyond their respective jumpers. Terrence is one of the most elusive dribblers in the high school scene, waltzing to the rim with deadly hesitations and crossovers. Like Steph, he leverages the threat of his lethal jumper to create space for floaters and layups. He’s an adept, though sometimes reckless, playmaker, capable of flinging one-handed rockets to the weak side on the move, or spoon-feeding bigs with timely drop passes.
This ability is complemented by a natural confidence that manifests itself on the court. For instance, against the long-limbed Jalen Green in an NBTC quarterfinals in 2018, Terrence gave no care to the size difference and would plow on the NBA prospect’s chest to score over him. Terrence is also unafraid to let it fly, attempting threes from distances that, for the average player, would usually be followed by a benching. But for a shooter of Terrence’s caliber, these types of shots are actually encouraged by the NU coaching staff.
“Palaging sinasabi ni Coach Goldwin (Monteverde) wag akong mag-hesitate tumira,” he said. “Ito yung strength ko eh. Kung di ko ginamit yun, bali wala lang din yung na-practice ko.”
This green light will only shine brighter as he continues to fine-tune his game. In the offseason, Terrence is focused on improving the intangibles –– namely his on-court maturity and composure. If he takes another leap, it won’t be surprising to see Terrence lead the UAAP Juniors Division in scoring.
Even if he’s certainly capable of doing so however, gunning for the scoring title runs contrary to the team-centric mindset of the Bullpups. Terrence is steadfast that the team comes first before the individual players, no matter how talented each player is. Terrence is focused on capping his high school career with another UAAP Juniors title, and would readily sacrifice numbers for another taste of success. As such, there will be games where he accepts a supporting role to let his other talented teammate to shine.
But when it’s one of those games when Terrence is feeling it, he puts on of the most exhilirating shows in basketball. Each swish ignites the crowd and ramps up the excitement in the building –– nirvana for a basketball purist. You just know that this kid is gonna be something special.
The SLAM Rising Stars Classic will be held on March 31, 7PM to 9PM, at the Gatorade Hoops Center in Mandaluyong. The game will be aired on ABS-CBN Sports via livestream.