Terrence Romeo is one of the best passing guards in the PBA today.
If all you’ve seen from Romeo are the flashy highlights and killer crossovers, I’d understand if you disagreed with this. We’ve all heard the criticisms of Romeo. “He takes too many shots! He holds the ball too often! He doesn’t make his teammates better! He should be getting his teammates better looks!”
Well, here’s the thing. Not only is Romeo still keeping up his torrid scoring pace, leading the league in points per game at 27 a contest, but he’s going back and forth with San Miguel Beerman guard Chris Ross for the lead in assists per game. After the 98-89 victory against the Meralco Bolts where Terrence dished out five assists, Romeo is now averaging 6.1 assists per ballgame. In his previous two games, Romeo dished out 9 assists in each contest.
When we think of great passing point guards, what comes to mind? Players like Ronnie Magsanoc, the fundamentally sound guard for Formula Shell, maybe? Or perhaps a player like Dindo “The Bullet” Pumaren, who was so great at probing the defense and finding his teammates for easy wide open looks. Those two legends have stood the test of time, and have earned their reputations as one of the best guards in PBA history.
But here’s the thing: Terrence Romeo is creating his own definition of a great passing point guard. Instead of fighting and trying to suppress his God-given talents, he’s using them to become an even deadlier player.
Terrence will always be the focal point of the opponent’s defensive scheme. Players understand that they can’t stop Terrence Romeo one-on-one, so they try to make things as difficult as possible for him. The way teams do that is to have a secondary defender shadow Romeo when he’s sizing up his teammate, or to collapse on him when GlobalPort goes through pick and rolls with Romeo and the big.
The problem with that is Romeo is largely beginning to understand how important the extra attention put on him is for his team’s fortune. Let’s get this out of the way first: Romeo can hit tough shots not because he’s lucky, but because he’s a workhorse who puts up a zillion shots before and after games and practices. What we might think are tough shots are simple makes for him. And in the past, Romeo would use that ability to hoist up some tough looking shots. When he’d make them, people would marvel at his abilities. But when he missed, people would put their arms up in the air and wonder if he would ever tone it down.
Romeo is now finding out that he doesn’t have to prove himself as a big time scorer every single time. There are more ways to dissect and break down an opponent, rather than just scoring every single time. GlobalPort, despite how great Romeo and Stanley Pringle are as a scoring duo, is at its deadliest when their role players are contributing. Players like Billy Mamaril and JR Quiñahan stepped up big time for GlobalPort, chipping in 12 and 11 points respectively. Mike Cortez had his best game in a neon green uniform, contributing 12 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals.
Terrence Romeo will always get his numbers, by hook or by crook. He’s just too good and too talented not to do so. But gaudy numbers from Romeo will not translate to success for GlobalPort. He knows that. That’s why Romeo’s game continues to evolve and expand. That’s why the attention given to the best scorer in the PBA today might actually be the downfall of opponents in the future.