TROY Rosario doesn’t see his inclusion in the Gilas Pilipinas squad set for the Southeast Asian Games as a demotion.
Instead, the TNT KaTropa forward considers it a good sign that the national team is not taking the biennial games lightly.
The 6-foot-7 Rosario has seen action with the senior team in his past Gilas stints, playing for the Tab Baldwin-mentored squad in the 2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament and the recent SEABA Basketball Championships.
The regional meet may be a step down to the level of competition Rosario has faced in the past, but the former National University star never really looked at it that way. For him, it’s all about representing the country – regardless of the tournament that they’re in.
“Lahat ng international games kailangan seryosohin e,” said Rosario.
Rosario’s inclusion gives the national team the much-needed ceiling that they seem to lack heading into this tournament.
Save for Rosario, the only natural big men in the SEAG-bound roster are the newcomers in 6-foot-7 Fil-German Christian Standhardinger and 6-foot-6 Raymar Jose.
Carl Bryan Cruz and Kobe Paras could also be called up to play in the post if needed.
He’ll also be adding experience to a generally young core as he’s familiar with Southeast Asian teams having played in the SEA Games and in the SEABA before.
“Yung country yung ni-rerepresent mo kaya kahit talunin mo by a big margin, talagang kailangan mo gawin yun. Lumalakas na rin yung mga ibang teams sa Southeast Asia kaya kailangan talagang paghandaan at seryosohin,” he added.
But Rosario’s focus now is with the TNT squad currently locked in a tight battle with San Miguel in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals.
The championship series is now down to a best of three after TNT’s 102-97 win in Game Four last Wednesday, a win that Rosario definitely had a hand on.
After being quiet in the first three games, Rosario started and played a huge role in the KaTropa offense as they attacked the Beermen bigs at will.
Rosario saw a sizeable advantage having played the three, causing mismatches in the post and fishing fouls which haunted San Miguel in the endgame.
“Nataon lang talaga na pag nasa transition, napupunta sa akin so may option lang na maka-take advantage sa mismatch. Tapos, sinabi sa akin na kailangan maging aggressive ako [this game], kailangan kong tumira,” Rosario said as he finished with 13 points, three rebounds and three assists in Game Four, by far his best game in the series.
“Last game, zero attempts lang ako e tapos three minutes of playing time. Gusto kong bumawi e. Binigyan na ko ng lisensya ni coach Nash [Racela] na be aggressive and take your shots. Talagang [sinunod] ko lang.”