DON Trollano is having a remarkable performance in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup finals particularly in Game Three were he had a career night in scoring for TNT on Friday.
And ironically, Trollano perhaps wouldn’t be having a career in the PBA if not for San Miguel coach Leo Austria, who was his coach during his college days with Adamson from 2012 to 2013.
Austria said he was able to recruit Trollano out of University of the East after he was relegated to Team B following a change in the coaching staff when Lawrence Chongson was replaced by Jerry Codiñera.
“Nasa Team B siya ng UE,” Austria recalled. “Nagkaroon ng change sa coach. Nasa Team B siya, I watched him sa Fr. Martin Cup and then nagkaroon ng changes. Alam ko na hindi siya malaline-up.”
Austria said he already saw the potential in the 6-foot-3 Trollano to reach the PBA, being a big man at that time who can shoot from the outside.
“Long range shooter siya and at that time, he is playing big man noon sa other team niya. Ginawa kong wingman for him to have a place in the PBA,” said Austria.
That is why Austria is no longer surprised with the play of Trollano, who put up double-double numbers of 14 points and 11 rebounds for TNT in a double overtime loss to San Miguel in Game Two.
Trollano continued his consistent play in the postseason on Friday after he had a career-best 18 points on 3 of 7 shooting from threes in the KaTropa’s 115-105 victory over the Beermen.
“It’s a huge transformation for him. He is so deceiving. I know he is capable of knocking down those shots… Hindi na ako nagugulat especially ‘yung shooting niya. Alam ko anytime especially meron siyang go-signal from their coaching staff. Talagang you can expect na talagang puputok siya. I’m happy for him and I’m proud of him,” said Austria.
After his stint with Adamson, Trollano was drafted 15th overall by Rain or Shine in the 2015 draft before he was traded in 2018 to TNT where he has found a home.
Trollano said he is repaying the trust being given to him by TNT head coach Bong Ravena and active consultant Mark Dickel especially with the KaTropa having injured players in Ryan Reyes and Anthony Semerad.
Trollano also said he was determined to win after Game Two’s double-double went for naught.
“Gusto ko lang talaga manalo,” said the 27-year-old Catanduanes native. “The coaching staff, the players, they trusted me. Tony and Ryan are injured so I need to step up.”
“’Yung Game Two, nakawala sa kamay namin. Sa amin na eh. So ang mindset namin is bounce back and eto nakuha namin ‘yung panalo.”
Trollano was also the recipient of assists passes from Terrence Jones, who had nine assists in Game Three and one assist shy of another triple double after also having 37 points and 18 rebounds.
“Siguro nakikita niya lang akong open at siguro nagtiwala lang siya sa akin. Maganda nilalaro ko ngayon. Kumpiyansa lang ng mga coaches. Sinasabi na kapag open, tira. Kapag mintis, it’s okay. Play defense. ‘Yun lang,” said Trollano.
For his part, Dickel is attributing the longer minutes to Trollano’s play as of late.
“He’s more than capable. I’ve talked to him just about playing defense, crashing the offensive glass, and just allowing the game to come to you,” Dickel said.