GlobalPort Batang Pier coach Franz Pumaren couldn’t be prouder of his star guard Terrence Romeo who carried the Philippine national men’s basketball team to a massive upset against China in the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup in Lebanon.
From the PBA, Romeo brought his explosive ways to Beirut as he scored 14 points in the fourth period to lift Gilas Pilipinas to the rousing win last Wednesday.
“Of course, just like our countrymen, I’m so proud of what Gilas Pilipinas has achieved, and more proud on my player, Terrence Romeo,” Pumaren told InterAksyon.
The Filipinos’ performance against the heavily favored Chinese brought back memories for Pumaren when he was still a player for the national team. He was a member of the Northern Cement-backed Philippine team that won the Asian Championship in 1986.
The squad beat China in the final game to capture the crown.
“It was one of my most memorable games. We beat a strong Chinese team. But we also had one game where we nearly lost to South Korea. We spent the New Year in Malaysia as our tournament was held late December of 1985 and finished early January, but we were given a hero’s welcome by our countrymen,” said Pumaren who served a backup for Hector Calma in the loaded squad bannered by Jeff Moore and Dennis Still.
“I think we were ahead of everybody when it comes to getting naturalized players at that time.”
As an icing on the cake, that Chinese team was considered as the best one that the Philippines ever defeated, according to amateur PBA historian Jay P. Mercado.
“That 1986 team was the best and most complete Chinese team that we beat in recent memory. We defeated them in the finals, 82-72. Noteworthy names in that Chinese team included Sun Fengwu, Wanglibin, Wang Fei, Zhang Bin, Song Ligang and Gong Luming,” Mercado said.