PBA: Romeo officially moves to TnT

Published April 3, 2018, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

by JONAS TERRADO

Terrence Romeo (PBA Images)
Terrence Romeo (PBA Images)
Terrence Romeo’s desire to join a championship contender was finally realized after GlobalPort sent one of the PBA’s most popular players to TNT KaTropa in a trade involving two centers and a pair of future draft picks.

GlobalPort shipped Romeo and Yousef Taha to TNT in exchange for Mo Tautuaa, a first round pick in 2020 and a second round selection in 2021, a deal that the league finally approved after the initial trade papers were reportedly rejected several weeks earlier.

TNT team manager Virgil Villaciencio expressed elation over the trade, saying the addition of Romeo would boost the KaTropa’s chances in the Commissioner’s Cup which opens on April 22 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Incidentally, TNT will take on GlobalPort in one of the two opening games of the midseason tournament opener. The league released the partial schedule hours prior to the trade announcement.

“It makes us a better team now,” Villavicencio told the Bulletin, pointing out the additional depth that will give TNT main man and Romeo’s Gilas Pilipinas teammate Jayson Castro plenty of support on offense.

Romeo had long sought for a chance at joining a team that can regularly compete for a crown. His closest shot at a title since joining GlobalPort as its first round pick in 2013 came when the Batang Pier made it to the semifinals of the 2016 Philippine Cup, losing to the Alaska Aces in five games.

Trade talks resurfaced anew when Romeo engaged in a verbal spat with GlobalPort coach Pido Jarencio during their PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinals match against Magnolia. Though, the two later played down the exchange, the Batang Pier and KaTropa immediately began negotiating for a deal that would favor both sides.

“It’s sad to let go one of the hottest players in the land, but we will not stand in the way of one’s desire and happiness. So with a heavy heart, we are trading our top star,” GlobalPort team manager Bonnie Tan said in a statement.

He is set for a reunion with TNT coach Nash Racela, his mentor when he won the UAAP Most Valuable Player award in his final season with Far Eastern University in 2013.

Several ex-Tamaraws are also part of the TNT roster in RR Garcia, RR Pogoy, Alfrancis Tamsi and assistant coach Eric Gonzales, who once handled Romeo as GlobalPort coach.

Romeo is the latest player to join TNT, which made a pair of trades since the Philippine Cup eliminations.

TNT acquired Jericho Cruz from Rain or Shine for rookie Sidney Onwubere, Kris Rosales and a 2018 first round pick in February before receiving Don Trollano also from the Elasto Painters for Norbert Torres.

Tautuaa, chosen as the No. 1 pick in the 2015 draft, hopes to make an impact with a Batang Pier squad that will now make cat-quick guard Stanley Pringle the team’s main guy.

“This is a win-win solution for us and the camp of Terrence. We have so much respect for the guy, but we, as a team, must also move on towards our main goal which is to get better and contend for our first-ever championship. Besides, Tautuaa could be the missing link to our championship aspiration,” Tan said.

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