FEU's Romeo shakes off injury to score career-high
|FEU star guard Terrence Romeo overcame an ankle injury to score a career-high 30 points and power the Tamaraws past the UE Red Warriors in double-overtime. Photo by Mark Cristino for ABS-CBNnews.com|
MANILA, Philippines – It seemed like a scene from the nightmares of Far Eastern University (FEU) fans: the University of the East (UE) Red Warriors were mounting a rally, and the Tamaraws’ star guard, Terrence Romeo, was crumpled on the court of the Araneta Coliseum, clutching his left ankle.
During the fourth quarter of the epic double-overtime showdown between FEU and UE, Romeo landed on the foot of Warriors center Charles Mammie after hoisting a triple – he missed – and landed awkwardly.
His teammates were seemingly unaware of it and play went on the other side of the court for nearly a minute while Romeo writhed in pain just inches from the FEU bench. The FEU side of the Araneta was hushed, as the league’s top MVP candidate laid face down on the court.
Romeo eventually stood up on his own, shook off the ankle injury, and sat on the bench for just a few moments. He re-entered the game late in the fourth-quarter, and proved to be instrumental in the Tamaraw’s 98-94 victory in double-overtime.
“Bali na-twist po 'yung paa ko,” Romeo said after the game. “Inisip ko na lang, gusto ko talaga bumalik eh. So hanggang kaya ko pa i-hakbang, ilalaro ko po.”
Romeo finished with a college career-high of 30 points in 41 minutes of action, and drained the dagger triple in the second overtime.
Remarkably, FEU coach Nash Racela did not even expect Romeo to suit up for the game, as the player also injured his left ankle during the Tamaraws’ practice the day before.
“Yesterday, natapilok si Terrence sa practice,” Racela told reporters after the game. “That’s why noong natapilok na naman ulit kanina, medyo sabi ko, mukang wala na.”
“But it just shows the heart of Terrence. He just wants to play,” he said.
The Tamaraws needed every single one of Romeo’s 30 points, as they were already playing without former league Most Valuable Player RR Garcia, who served a one-game suspension.
But both Romeo and Racela gave high praise to the FEU role-players, led by Archie Iñigo, for putting together solid performances.
“Ni-remind ko sila na kailangan namin mag-step up, especially ‘yung mga wala masyadong minutes,” said Romeo. “Si Archie, sobrang laki ng tinulojng niya. Nag-step up siya, at pati ‘yung ibang mga bench players namin.”
“That’s what most of the media were asking – how will you be able to solve that problem of losing RR in this game?” noted Racela. “That’s the answer.”
“You had Iñigo, Joel Lee Yu, even sa huli I had to use Jeson Delfinado and Joshua Aguilon,” he added. “But that’s what the team is about – guys being ready to step up, and guys being ready to step forward.”