Used to being the franchise player, Terrence Romeo had taken a step back for the greater good of his team, and was rewarded greatly for his sacrifice.
The spitfire guard was named Finals MVP after the San Miguel Beermen finished off the TNT KaTropa, 102-90, in Game 6 of the 2019 PBA Commissioner's Cup Finals.
The first bench player to win the award since 2012, Romeo has proven his critics wrong by showing he can thrive in an off-the-bench role. He poured in 14.8 points, 4.3 assists, and 2.3 rebounds in six hard-fought games against his former squad. It's been quite the season for the former scoring champion; he finally won his first PBA title in the Philippine Cup and now he has his first Finals MVP.
More importantly, his team is on the cusp of clinching the elusive Grand Slam, which the franchise last achieved in 1989.
Winning the award however was farthest from his mind, as he was zeroed in on the bigger picture.
"What was always on my mind is to be ready to help my team. Every time I step on the court, our quality of play must not step down," said Romeo in Filipino.
Furthermore, with Romeo's achievement, he comes full circle from just being a one-dimensional wonder to a Finals MVP. Now in his sixth season, Romeo has become a more complete and mature player.
"For me, if you think how your team will win, you will forget that you should be the focal point," shared the FEU alumnus. "It's not important who scores the most or who's the best player. That's what I learned, I have adopted their win-first mentality. One must be unselfish."
San Miguel's journey to the Finals was wrought with danger, overcoming the higher-seeded NorthPort Batang Pier in the quarterfinals and the always-tough Rain or Shine Elasto Painters in the semifinals just to face the juggernaut KaTropa with super import Terrence Jones.
Even though he faced his former team, where he had a contentious stint, Romeo maintains his high regard for the franchise, shrugging off any semblance of vengeance.
"I have full respect for TNT for what they put up in the series. Even for their efforts the whole conference, the team tips its hat to them."
Being ahead big for a huge chunk of the game, San Miguel fought off complacency against the top-seeded KaTropa.
The bench, including Romeo, fulfilled its role and contributed 28 points overall.
What was once a childhood dream has been realized twice this season for the 27-year-old, and he hopes to seal the deal for their third straight title this year.
"For me, I'm just blessed this happened. Many have accomplished this, many capable men have done it. I'm just lucky."