The surprise, expectedly, came for the Aces’ side—as their playoff streak that spanned for nine conferences has come to a grounding halt.
Romeo’s shot swung the momentum back to his team’s favor after being down 103-104. Import Justin Harper added one more from the charity stripe to put the game beyond reach at 107-104.
Aces’ Chris Exciminiano nailed a bucket just before the final buzzer rang, but it wasn’t exactly what his team needed.
“Wala naman akong ibang iniisip–everytime na tumitira ako kahit ‘di pumasok eh,” Romeo said of his play. “So ‘yun lang. Kahit na sumablay na ako ng maraming beses, or kahit pangit na yung shooting field goals ko, kapag kailangan kong ishoot, ang pinapasok ko sa sarili ko, ‘kailangan kong ipasok, kailangan kong makatulong sa team.’
“Big shot, you jerk,” Alaska head coach Alex Compton told the GlobalPort guard in jest on their way out of the dugout hallway.
“Enjoyin ko muna ‘to, coach,” the Batang Pier guard retorted with a smile.
“Swerte. Tsamba,” he added. “Ang thinking ko lang nun kailangan makapaglaro kami ng isang game pa.”
Romeo tallied 26 points to eclipse Calvin Abueva’s career-high 31-point performance. Nine of the former’s markers came in the payoff period when GlobalPort was neck-and-neck with Alaska for eighth spot in the play
Even for Batang Pier head coach Franz Pumaren, his ward’s shot was not something that of a rare occurence.
“We have to give credit to the guy. He’s really willing to take that shot. That’s why he’s Terrence Romeo,” the first-year GlobalPort mentor said.
“In short, makapal talaga mukha niya,” he quipped. “That’s a gutsy move. It takes one great player willing to take that shot.”
“Sinabi ko na lang din sa kanya sa dugout na siguro nung naglalaro din siya baka ganun din, makapal din ang mukha niya so nagmana ako sa kanya,” Romeo gamely said.
The No. 8 BatangPier will face No. 1 Barangay Ginebra on Tuesday for the fourth quarterfinal tussle at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
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