WHILE most of the attention was on Tab Baldwin and the Gilas Pilipinas pool members who had reported back for practice on Wednesday afternoon, one player, Troy Rosario, had sneaked away from the media scrum to catch some sleep.
He needed it.
Coming off a three-hour practice with a Gilas side preparing for the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Manila, the Tropang TNT rookie will have to be back on the court three hours later with the Gilas cadets who are set to take part in the Seaba Stankovic Cup in Thailand next week.
The former UAAP Finals MVP from National University arrived at the Meralco Gym around noon for Gilas’ practice at 1 p.m. - its first in more than a month after the national team’s buildup gave way to the PBA playoffs.
And instead of going home to Fairview, Quezon City – a good one, one-and-a-half hours away depending on the horrific traffic – or killing time in a mall, Rosario decided to get some much-needed sleep in one of the dingy rooms of the Meralco gym before plunging back to practice, this time with the Gilas cadets, at 8 p.m.
“Nakakaawa rin si Troy kasi bugbog na nga katawan niya sa ensayo, pwersado pa siyang mag-stay dito ng atleast 10 hours,” said Gilas aide Bong Tulabot.
“Kinausap nya kami kanina at nagpaalam, alanganin na raw kasi kung after ng Gilas practice, around 5 p.m. na ‘yun, uuwi pa siya sa Fairview, rush hour na baka magahol siya sa 8 p.m. ng cadets,” added the longtime national team staffer.
Rosario’s room was definitely not five-star accommodation as he made do with a mattress perched atop an office table, then used a pile of empty mineral water gallons to give him additional length – the better for him to stretch his 6-foot-7 frame.
Still, it came up short. But the cramped accommodation would do for Troy, who, used to such beds in his dorm during his NU days, was soon serenaded to dreamland by OPM (Original Pilipino Music) ballads playing from his smart phone.
“Napaka-disiplinado ng batang ‘yan. Ayaw niyang ubusin ang lakas niya,” said Tulabot. “Kung iba kasi gagala muna, maglilibot o tatambay kung saan. Siya, matutulog at ipapahinga ang katawan.”
See video of Rosario:
Rosario’s willingness to sacrifice no longer came as a surprise to Gilas cadets head coach Nash Racela, who bared the PBA rookie had volunteered to reinforce the amateur-laden national side bound for the Seaba tournament.
“He was actually the one that volunteered to be part of the Seaba team,” said Racela, also an assistant of Baldwin in the men's team. “I’m sure our countrymen see and appreciate the sacrifices he has been making.”
The sacrifice of Rosario actually didn’t end there.
He may also have little time to celebrate his wife Mich’s birthday on Thursday as he has to go through the same ordeal all over again.
“Birthday ng misis niya bukas eh, pero hindi raw napaliban. After na lang daw ng practice niya iti-treat ang wife niya,” said the well-loved Gilas support staff.
The dedication of Rosario did not go unnoticed for Baldwin.
“That’s Troy. You don’t need to listen to his words because his actions say everything,” said the national coach, “and this is just a typical example of his commitment to Gilas and to his pursuit of greatness.”