MANILA, Philippines — The departure of Carlo Lastimosa left College of St. Benilde searching for someone able to fill in his shoes.
Mark Romero had no idea that he would turn out to be that guy.
“I’m in shock,” admitted Romero, who led the Blazers’ 74-49 rout of University of the Philippines for their first win in four games Wednesday afternoon. “I’m not used to that [being the leader]. I’m just a role player for the past two years.”
“In my past few games, I was having a hard time dealing with it,” Romero added on treading unfamiliar ground.
Slowly but surely though, the versatile forward, who can shoot from the outside and has the ability to put the ball on the floor, is getting used to his new role.
Romero, who still has one playing year left after this season, torched the Fighting Maroons with 25 points, 18 in the first half, where CSB broke the game wide open, in just 25 minutes.
“I guess nung nawala yung mga magagaling na players nila, it’s only proper that the next guy who can be their leader is Mark,” said new CSB coach Gabby Velasco. “He’s one of the players that we can bank on and I think he has accepted his role. Hopefully he can live up to the expectation.”
Both Romero and Velasco agreed the loss of Lastimosa, who decided to forego his final year, was huge with him being the team’s main man for several years.
“It’s a big loss but with myself, Grey, Taha and Sinco maturing, all of us who are in our fourth and third year we need to step up for the team,” Romero said.
“We’re trying to fill in kung ano man ang nawala sa amin without Carlo but definitely it will be a different team this year,” said Velasco.