Romeo sparks comeback as Gilas stuns New Zealand squad
Terrence Romeo led a fourth quarter comeback and Gilas Pilipinas stunned Wellington Saints of New Zealand, 84-81, in the 2015 MVP Cup Saturday night at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Romeo, who didn’t play when Gilas outlasted the Kiwis in overtime eight days ago in the 2015 Jones Cup, scored 12 of his 18 points in the fourth period including two free throws with 7.7 seconds left that cushioned the Filipinos’ lead.
“Sometimes you have to find a way,” said Gilas head coach Tab Baldwin after the Nationals rose from 13 points down in the fourth quarter.
Romeo showed the way.
He had three triples inside the last five minutes, the final one giving Gilas a 78-76 lead with 3:03 remaining, before coinciding with Jayson Castro on a crucial fastbreak play for an 82-79 edge with 50.6 ticks to go.
“What you saw is a team that is willing to fight to win,” Baldwin said.
The Philippines can wrap up the four-team pocket tournament with the title with a win over Chinese Taipei on Sunday.
Baldwin is bracing for the duel he described as Gilas “most significant” game in this four-nation tournament.
“They came here to play us. They came here for that lesson and in all honesty, that’s the game we need to take lessons from because they’re our Asian opponent,” said Baldwin.
Romeo had missed his first five free throws before sinking the final two points of the game.
“As a coach you have to believe in your players and I believe in my players.”