Terrence Romeo and his Championship Quest

There comes a time in a player’s career when they have a change of heart. A famous and probably worn-out example, of course, is 2010’s The Decision, which saw LeBron James, the NBA’s biggest free agent then, leaving his hometown to play with his buddies in South Beach.

Kevin Durant had a similar episode last year when he decided to join the Golden State Warriors, a 73-win team that had just ousted his Oklahoma City Thunder from the playoffs.

These decisions are hinged on one shiny thing that eluded both superstars. It was all about chasing championships. The criticism that came with their choices were worth it: James delivered on his promise to bring home to Cleveland its first title in franchise history while Durant fulfilled his destiny of being an NBA champion.

Barring one (flat) earth-shattering tectonic shift, James and Durant may again find themselves in another Finals matchup (sorry, Rockets fans).

PBA - Talk 'N Text Tropang Texters vs GlobalPort Batang Pier - Jan. 25, 2017 - PRT - 5

Just last week, reports came out the PBA’s scoring champion, Terrence Romeo, wants out of his current team, the GlobalPort Batang Pier—a team he played for since he turned pro in 2013. But in four years in the league, the closest that Romeo got in achieving team success was a semifinal appearance in the 2015-2016 Philippine Cup.

In the 2016-2017 season, GlobalPort made the playoffs in both the Philippine Cup and Commissioners’ Cup, but eventually flaming out in the Governors’ Cup with a 3-8 win-loss record. Romeo’s league-leading 23 points per game for the season was again all for naught.

Aside from making some questionable hair-styling decisions, scoring is one thing that Romeo has done all his life. He once scored 83 points as a high school kid, dropped 19 against a Tony Parker-led France squad, and poured in 41 points in a playoff game, which was very Iversonesque. But Romeo’s game is patterned more after Kyrie Irving, a guy who has won a championship.

His game has developed into a full-game highlight reel, ready to shock and awe with every crossover. But there’s also a sense of maturity in his openness to play within a system. Imagine the level of restraint that Romeo has, knowing that he can break a max of 10 ankles on the court at any given time, but doesn’t.

Yet despite his talent, here we are in the Romeo saga: three scoring titles, one Mythical First Team selection, three-time All-Star, two-time All-Star MVP. Zero Finals appearances. We should fix that.

The trade request from Romeo, if proven to be true, isn’t only understandable, given his team’s lack of depth to compete against teams like Ginebra or San Miguel or Talk ‘N Text or Meralco, it’s also inevitable.

(READ: How Terrence can land on you favorite team)

Since no one outside of the league has a damn clue on how the PBA trading system actually works, it wouldn’t be a surprise at all if Romeo ends up on either one of those teams by next season, and becoming a new fixture in the PBA Finals. And, for all that he has done for country, Romeo deserves it. So do the fans.

2017 PBA Commissioners Cup Ginebra-GlobalPort pic 5 by Roy Afable

We need more Terrence Romeo, the first Asian to have a signature shoe with the Chinese brand Peak, deep in the playoffs. Give us seven games of Romeo vs LA Tenorio or Romeo vs Chris Ross or Romeo vs Jayson Castro or Romeo vs Newsome in the finals. Give us more of The Bro, wiping bodily fluids on the opposing team’s freethrow shooter for good luck.

With all the negativity tarnishing the league right now, Romeo’s straight-up fun and entertaining brand of basketball will be a breath of fresh hair product.

Romeo is the type of unconventional the PBA needs. We all saw how he performed at the global stage, disrespecting defenders and shooting his way to the top of the list of elite Philippine exports—coffee, banana, Terrence Romeo. The PBA Finals needs this version of Romeo.

His FIBA experience has molded him into a mature star, ready to take his talents to the Finals and fulfill his destiny. It’s time to unleash Finals Romeo.

Romeo is out to get his first PBA championship. Fans should be excited and opposing teams should beware: they’ll have much more to worry about than his next hairstyle choice.

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