HE was invited to be a a practice player, yet that won’t stop him from playing like he’s part of the final roster.
Troy Rosario hopes his participation in Gilas Pilipinas’ first training session on Wednesday night at the Meralco gym was a sign that he could be part of the national team bound for the Fiba Asia Championship in China in September.
Donning the national colors in the Fiba 3x3 World Tour Manila Masters where he wull team up with Calvin Abueva, Vic Manuel, and Karl Dehesa, the amateur standout received a call from Gilas manager Butch Antonio last Monday to train with the national team bound for Olympics qualifier.
“Hindi ko rin in-expect eh,” Rosario said in a chat with Spin.ph after practice. “Tinawagan lang talaga ako. Sabi maki-practice daw ako. Try ko lang daw.”
Now that he's part of the elite group, the pro-bound former National University star said he might as well seize the moment.
“Nag-usap lang ('yung coaching staff) na 'yung mga players na dumating ngayon inaasahan nilang mapasama sa pool, pero marami pang dadating na players eh.”
“Pero sana (mapili),” Rosario added. “Isang malaking opportunity para sa’kin ‘to.”
The 23-year-old Gilas cadet was the second-youngest player after GlobalPort guard Terrence Romeo and the only amateur among the 10 players who attended the start of training camp.
Whatever happens will augur well for Rosario’s future after he recently declared for the PBA Rookie Draft set on August 23.
It’s a tossup between him and Moalaa Tautuaa on who gets to be the No. 1 overall pick.
“Para sa akin, hindi ko iniisip ‘yun eh,” Rosario said. “Ang iniisip ko talaga yung preparation ko lang.”
“(Number) one or two (overall) okay lang,” the former National University stalwart added. “Kahit nga hindi pumasok sa Top Two, okay lang eh basta ma-draft, makapirma, at makalaro.”
The athletic slotman said he has been working on his outside shooting — and it was evident in practice on Wednesday where he knocked down three-point shots with regularity.
“Gusto ko maging stretch-four,” Rosario admitted. “Ayaw ko maging center kasi malalaki yung makakalaban. Gusto ko makapaglaro sa labas, pero meron pa rin yung inside game ko.”