Globalport welcomes Romeo to Gilas pool
Joaquin M. Henson (The Philippine Star) - July 28, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - If ever Terrence Romeo is picked to join the Gilas pool, Globalport governor Erick Arejola said yesterday the franchise will welcome the inclusion as it could only make the PBA’s leading local scorer a better player.

“Every conference, Terrence is showing more maturity,” said Arejola. “He’s learning how to play within the team concept. I think playing with Gilas will make Terrence mature even faster. There’s no doubt that he’s a skilled player. The exposure with Gilas will give him an opportunity to test himself against new competition. For sure, when he returns to Globalport, Terrence will be much improved and we look forward to that. But at this point, we still don’t know if he’ll be named to the pool.”

Romeo, 23, will see action with KG Canaleta, Aldrech Ramos and Rey Guevarra on the Manila West squad in the Manila Masters leg of the FIBA 3x3 World Tour at Robinson’s Place Manila this weekend. Manila West is the defending Manila Masters champion. Two other Manila selections will participate in the 12-team tournament. Manila North is made up of Calvin Abueva, Vic Manuel, Karl Dehesa and Troy Rosario while Manila South is composed of Jair Igna, Carlo Ortega, Lucky Ecarma and Joshua Sinclair who won the Talk ‘N’ Text national “tatluhan” championship representing Cebu.

Romeo, the UAAP MVP in 2013, was the fifth overall pick in the 2013 PBA draft behind Greg Slaughter, Ian Sangalang, Raymond Almazan and James Forrester. As a rookie in 2013-14, he averaged 12.4 points with Globalport. This past season, Romeo led the PBA in scoring with a 19.7 clip, shooting 30.7 percent from beyond the arc and 76.3 percent from the line.

Globalport came close to making it to its first Final Four appearance in the recent Governors Cup but frittered away a twice-to-beat advantage in losing to the Star Hotshots in the quarterfinals. “We finished fourth at the end of the eliminations and were a win away from qualifying for the semifinals,” said Arejola. “But we went up against a team with a lot of veterans and championship experience. We’re still in the learning process, both our players and coaches. We’ll bounce back.”

Globalport has played three seasons in the PBA so far. In 2013-14, the rookie franchise posted a record of 7-27. The next season, it was 7-31. Globalport went 5-7 in the Philippine Cup, 4-7 in the Commissioner’s Cup and 7-6 in the Governors Cup for an overall record of 16-20 this year.

Arejola said Globalport has only one slot in the coming PBA draft, No. 17 in the second round. “We need a big man,” he said. “We were competitive in the Governors Cup because of (Jarrid) Famous who filled our gap at center. But in the All-Filipino conference, we’ll be deficient. The draft has a lot of big guys like Moala Tautuaa, Troy Rosario, Norbert Torres and possibly Arnold Van Opstal. We just don’t know who will still be available when we pick.”

Arejola said Globalport team owner Mikee Romero will call a meeting this week to discuss plans for next season. “Boss Mikee wants us to focus on defense,” he said. “Offense is no problem but it’s defense where we need to improve. We’ll also study how to beef up our lineup, maybe through trades. We still don’t know. We’ve got a lot of expiring contracts and some missing pieces so we’ll address those issues.” Among the Globalport players with expiring contracts are Ronjay Buenafe, Paolo Taha, Denok Miranda, Doug Kramer, Keith Jensen and Marvin Hayes.

Last season, Globalport ranked No. 4 in offense, averaging 92.97 points but it was No. 9 in defense, giving up exactly the same number. In losing two in a row to the Hotshots in the Governors Cup playoffs, the Batang Pier gave up an average of 113.5 points. Globalport surrendered 117.3 points in its six losses but only 90.9 in its seven wins in the third conference.

Arejola said Globalport intends to start practice on Aug. 3. “We want to get ready early,” he said. “There’s a possibility that we’ll play in a pocket tournament in Macau at the end of August.”

Arejola said he wasn’t surprised that Famous found an NBA team after playing for Globalport. Famous was recently signed by the Dallas Mavericks. He averaged 30.2 points and 23 rebounds in nine games for the Batang Pier in the Governors Cup. Famous had previously suited up for Meralco in the PBA and Petron in the ABL. “That’s welcome news because it speaks well of the PBA,” said Arejola. “Imports will realize if they play well in the PBA, it could lead to an NBA contract just like what happened to Famous. I’ll never forget his 30-30 game when he had 30 points and 37 rebounds in our win over Kia. I was talking about Famous with coach Pido (Jarencio) and our coaching staff the other day. We all agreed that playing in the PBA prepared him for the NBA.”

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