MANILA, Philippines – His first PBA finals appearance is certainly one to remember for San Miguel Beer's Terrence Romeo.
Romeo, who was acquired by SMB in a blockbuster trade in the offseason, has been a crucial part of the team's bid for a fifth consecutive title in the PBA All-Filipino Cup. He averaged 15.71 points per game in the elimination round, despite playing less than 22 minutes per game for the Beermen.
He is currently contributing 12.3 points per game so far in SMB's finals series against the Magnolia Hotshots. Romeo had only 9 points in the Beermen's 98-86 triumph over Magnolia in Game 6, but he knocked down a crucial 3-pointer to open the fourth quarter that sparked his team's breakaway.
With the championship series heading to a deciding game, Romeo couldn't help but marvel at how his first finals trip had played out.
"Excited na ako maglaro sa Game 7," said Romeo. "First finals ko, then umabot ng Game 7."
"Excited, pero siyempre 'di naman pwedeng sobrang excited to the point na 'di ka na makatulog or what," he added.
Pressure will definitely be on the Beermen to deliver a fifth consecutive All-Filipino championship, but it is something that Romeo welcomes.
"Napakagandang challenge para sa amin (nito)," said Romeo. "Sobrang motivated (ko), kasi para sa family ko 'to."
"Hindi ko lang laban 'to. Laban ng San Miguel 'to, and napaka-galing ng mga kasama ko," he added.
His teammates are confident that Romeo – along with Christian Standhardinger, another finals Game 7 first-timer – will play their best on Wednesday, despite the overwhelming pressure.
"I expect them to play well. I told them just go out there and have fun, and play like it's a regular basketball game," said SMB point guard Chris Ross of Romeo and Standhardinger.
"We've been playing basketball for so long, and it's still a regular game. No matter what if it's Game 1 or Game 7, it's still a regular game," he said. "You never know in a Game 7, so I expect everyone to be at their best."
Game 7 is on Wednesday evening at the Araneta Coliseum.
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