TROY Rosario gave hoops fans some more reasons to believe he is more than ready for the PBA with his impressive showing in the Fiba 3x3 World Tour Manila Masters on Saturday.
The late-blooming forward out of National University held his own in the company of pro teammates Calvin Abueva, Karl Dehesa and Vic Manuel in a Manila North side that swept its preliminary matches in Pool B.
Rosario wowed the crowd with a dunk and big defensive plays in Manila North's 20-18 win over Beirut then tipped in the game-winner in a 17-16 shocker against second seed Ljubljana on Slovenia.
The Gilas cadet, a veteran of the last Southeast Asian Games in Singapore, played down his impressive performances, saying he still has a lot to improve on.
“Sa ngayon, hindi ko pa masabi (kung ready ako),” said Rosario. “Marami pa akong dapat iimprove.”
Rosario said he is simply making the most out of the opportunity as he prepares for his jump to the PBA, where he is expected to be a Top Two pick in the rookie draft set August 23.
“Isang malaking opportunity ito para maglaro sa bansa at makalaban ang ibang bansa,” said Rosario. “Training experience ko na rin ‘to para pag-akyat ko sa PBA, hindi ako mabigla.
"Parang ganito lang din sa PBA, ihahanda ko lang din sarili ko.”
Scouts have expressed concern over Rosario's lean frame, but the former Bulldog showed he can handle physical play during the two matches, even shrugging off a busted mouth after getting hit by an elbow in the Beirut game.
Rosario later said the level of physicality in the Fiba 3x3 World Tour Masters is none worse than the rugged play he became used to in the PBA D-League.
“Naranasan ko rin ‘to sa D-League. Mas grabe pa nga sa D-League. Larong Pinoy pa rin tayo,” said Rosario, who is also a practice player in the Gilas pool preparing for the Fiba-Asia men's championship.
As for Manila North team's campaign in the 3x3 knockout rounds on Sunday, Rosario said they will have to rely on more than just talent alone.
“Hindi kami ganun ka-talented. Dinadaan namin sa hustle. Siguro ‘yun ang magpapanalo sa amin,” said Rosario.