3 years since PBA heartbreak, Romeo Travis basks in championship glory

Delfin Dioquino

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3 years since PBA heartbreak, Romeo Travis basks in championship glory
The 34-year-old completes his redemption campaign by leading Magnolia to the 2018 PBA Governors' Cup title

MANILA, Philippines – Romeo Travis returned to the Philippine Basketball Association to complete some unfinished business, and he did so with Magnolia.

Three years since his first league stint with Alaska that ended in a finals heartbreak, Travis won his first PBA championship as the Hotshots wrapped up the 2018 Governors’ Cup finals in 6 games against the Aces. 

It took a lot of detours before he redeemed himself from the 2015 Governors’ Cup finals loss to San Miguel that saw him and Alaska get swept, but the 34-year-old persevered and achieved the result he wanted. 

“It was up and down. A lot of good things happen, but some bad things happened, too. In my life, I’ve noticed that if you stay positive and you stay upbeat through the bad times, then good things are going to happen,” he said. 

Travis had been battered and banged up through the elimination round and the  playoffs. 

Enduring the pain of a hamstring injury, he dropped 50 points to help Magnolia dethrone two-time defending Governors’ Cup champions Barangay Ginebra in 6 games in the semifinals. 

He then sustained a busted glabella and some minor injuries here and there throughout the best-of-7 championship duel. 

But with the title on the line, he put up a herculean effort of 32 points, 17 rebounds, 6 assists, and 3 steals in the closeout Game 6. 

“Just stay positive, stay upbeat through the bad times, and I knew good times were on their way,” he said. 

When the conference started, Travis admitted he wanted to come back and suit up for Alaska anew after that stinging finals defeat. 

The call from the Aces, however, never came. Instead, it was the Hotshots who acquired his services.

As it turned out, things worked out perfectly for Travis as he led Magnolia to its first title since the 2014 Governors’ Cup – the last championship of the franchise’s historic Grand Slam. 

He has nothing but gratitude for the Hotshots.

“It’s just a great feeling to win it with this group of guys. We have a great group of guys. Like I said before, they accepted me as one of their own, and I’m just thankful. I can’t say anything else but I’m thankful,” Travis said. 

“I’m thankful for the guys, I’m thankful for Coach Chito [Victolero], for the coaching staff, everybody who just kept talking to me, kept coaching me up, and kept keeping me calm and all the other things,” he added.  

Although elated to finally bag the precious hardware, Travis couldn’t help but feel bad for his former team. 

“I wish it wasn’t Alaska. I have a lot of great friends over there, especially Chris Banchero. I really want him to get a championship. Unfortunately, it was against us so we had to do what we had to do,” he said. “But I really want those guys to really do well and succeed because I do have friends there and I do wish nothing but the best for those guys.”

He continued: “It would have been easier for me to play against somebody else, against not my old teammates and not my old coach. But you can’t decide these things, and the cards fell where they did and we just had to do what we had to do.” 

Travis goes on a well-deserved break as he returns home to the United States for the holidays. Rappler.com

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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.