AS grueling as Ry dela Rosa's journey back from an ACL injury is, the Jose Rizal University guard just feels fortunate having someone like his older brother Rome who knows the long and winding road he's going through.
Ry dela Rosa on brother Rome
"At first, he told me it’s a learning lesson," he said.
"It was definitely tough for him to hear because it’s one of those injuries that take a long time to heal. He knows that I wanted to play last season and he was just there for me every day -- telling me to continue my rehab and to continue to work hard because it will pay off in the end."
True enough, the comforting words of the Magnolia winger rung true for the younger Dela Rosa as he churned out a solid performance of 17 points on 5-of-9 shooting from deep, to go with two rebounds in 23 minutes of play in his on-court comeback for the Heavy Bombers in the Filoil EcoOil Preseason Cup on Monday.
Though JRU tasted defeat at the hands of University of Santo Tomas, 86-78, Dela Rosa's return should really be an encouraging sign for the Kalentong crew.
"They know the work I’ve put in to get back and they trust me to do my thing and play my role. I’m thankful for those guys for helping and motivating me every day," said the 5-foot-10 guard, who is designated as the team captain for the upcoming NCAA Season 98.
Enduring that rehabilitation process also made Dela Rosa learn more about himself both physically and mentally, saying, "It kinda just humbles you. I’m thankful that it’s one of those injuries you can get back from."
"A lot of sacrifices had to be made in order to get back from it. You get to learn more about yourself–your strengths, weaknesses. You get the time off to work on your mental health as well. That was one of the biggest factors I had to go through throughout the injury.”
Now back and better than ever, Dela Rosa is just determined to lead JRU back in contention after a lackluster one-win performance in the past campaign.
"I expect us to compete," the 23-year-old said. "Last year, we didn’t do as well as I thought we would. It’s one of those things that you could work on, learn from. I’m excited to get back with these groups of guys and compete with them every single game."
He finished: "As a team captain, I will just lead by example. Be there for these guys, physically and mentally. Whether it’s a bubble or not, I wanna be that guy that they could lean on whenever they need someone to talk to. I’m just here to cheer up my guys and root everyone on." Juris Salvanera