by Ernest Hernandez
Arwind Santos, team captain of the San Miguel Beermen, took it upon himself to take care of fellow FEU Tamaraw Terrence Romeo to feel his way into his new squad.
“Spider-Man” recalls the high scoring guard’s first few practices with the team.
“Unang-una, sa unang practice nya, pagdating ko sabi ko ‘Welcome’, ganun. Ino-obserbahan ko muna siya sa first day,” said Santos.
“And then the second day, dahil nakaupo siya malayo sa akin – pero nandoon siya, nakikipagkwentuhan sa iba at nagshshooting siya – sabi ko sa ball boy, ‘Sabihin mo kay Romeo na umupo dito sa tabi ko para magkatabi kami at huwag siyang mahiya sa akin’.
It was a way for Santos to make Romeo feel more at home with the SMB family by using their FEU Tamaraw lineage as a common bond. He advised his new teammate not to hesitate in asking questions regarding the team.
“‘Yun ‘yung isang move ko para at least di siya mai-ilang, makita niya na eto, (FEU) Tamaraw din ako. Sabi ko sa kanya, ‘O, pareho tayong Tamaraw huwag kang mahiya sa akin’,” he said. “Pag may tanong ka, sabihin mo lang sa akin’.”
Santos sympathizes with Romeo’s adjustments from bouncing from two teams in just one season. He sees himself in Romeo when he first entered the Beermen camp, who back then have a formidable roster, after getting traded from Air21.
“Nararamdaman ko rin kasi ‘yung feeling nung pagdating ni Romeo, kasi nangyari din yan sa akin e, noong nasa Air21 ako at three years akong naglaro doon,” Santos recalls.
“Bigla akong pumunta ng San Miguel, malakas din lineup ng San Miguel nun, nagchchampion din sila,” he said. “Same thing, kailangan ganun din, kung paano ako tinanggap ng San Miguel dapat ganun din ang ipakita ko sa kanya.”
Romeo carries a lot of intrigue, both in character and behavior, with his former teams. But for Santos, Romeo can start fresh and with the winning culture of the Beermen.
“Hindi ko titinignan kung ano yung bad comments o past niya,” said Santos. “Basta ako, ngayong ka-team ka na namin, tutulungan ka namin at tulungan mo rin kami, at kung papaano ka magiging compatible sa San Miguel.”
The Beermen will put Romeo to the test along with the new additions when they play their first PBA game on January 18, Friday against the Columbian Dyip at the Cuneta Astrodome.