It was not the debut PBA followers, San Miguel fans, and even Terrence Romeo himself expected.
One of the most anticipated team debuts in recent memory ended in a loss right away, as the retooled four-time defending Philippine Cup champions were dealt a shocking loss by Columbian Dyip, last year's cellar dwellers, 124-118.
What's even more disappointing was despite so much promise Romeo was showing, he was hampered by injury.
Midway through the third quarter, the multiple-time scoring champion inadverently stepped on Dyip guard Rashawn McCarthy's foot, leading to a sprained ankle.
By that point, Romeo had 7 points, 4 assists, and 2 rebounds in 12 minutes of action. He never returned to the game, which was still neck-and-neck by that time.
"Gusto ko sanang pilitin pa na ilaro, pero inisip ko pagka pinilit ko, lalo lang ako... makakasama lang ako sa team dahil di ako makakahabol sa depensa," Romeo said.
"Hindi rin ako makaka-hundred percent sa.. yun nga, sa offense, hindi ako makakatulong sa kanila. So nag-decide na lang ako na umupo, na ipahinga."
He tried drinking an analgesic to relieve his pain, but to no avail.
"[S]iyempre malungkot, hindi ako gaanong nakatulong sa team."
Talking about his adjustments with the team, especially with eyes solely focused on him, he tried to shrug off hurtful comments hurled against him and wanted to prove his detractors wrong.
With a matchup against Ginebra looming on Sunday, the spitfire scorer will have to see first if he will be available.
"Kailangan ko pang pakiramdaman pag-uwi ko sa bahay kung kaya. Kapag ka siguro namaga, baka hindi ko maibalik sa... Hindi ko makaano sa next game kasi pangit din naman na pilitin mo na may masakit eh, hindi ka rin makakatulong sa team."
For teammate Arwind Santos, whom Terrence had several run-ins with, including last year's All-Star Game, he vows to protect Romeo whatever it costs.
"Oo naman kasi ako concern ako doon sa mga taong gustong patunayan nila na mali yung mga sinasabi. Kasi, wag tayong mang-down. Kasi ako di rin ako mangda-down hangga’t hindi ko napapatunayan na ganun ka nga. Nakasama ko naman siya, hindi naman siya ganun," shared Santos.
"Nakikisama naman, talagang ano lang siya, sobrang affected lang siya sa mga sinasabi ng mga fans. Kaya yun, kasama na niya.. ngayon, kaibigan niya na kami, teammates niya na kami, isa kami sa tutulong, susuporta at magtatanggol sa kaniya."
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