TNT Katropa's Kris Rosales finally got the chance to go up against the player he has looked up to, and he made quite an impression in their first meeting in the PBA Governors' Cup.
The Fil-Am newbie and California native recalled that Meralco Bolts veteran Jimmy Alapag was a household name among the Filipinos from where he came from. And he was elated to play against Alapag and hold his own against him on Saturday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The former Asean Basketball League (ABL) star, who was signed by the Katropa before the conference, gave a good account of himself as he scored 13 points in TnT's thrilling 98-95 win over the Bolts.
"As a Fil-Am, he's one of the guys you look up to," said Rosales, referring to Alapag who had 11 for a Meralco team that suffred its first loss in three games.
"He came from California, I'm from California. Back home all I hear was Jimmy. Jimmy is the guy. I was just happy to compete against him and he played a great game," he added.
But more importantly, the 6-foot-1 Rosales was pleased to make a good impression on his coach, Jong Uichico.
"Kris has been a good reliever for Jayson (Castro)," Uichico said. "He does his role, he doesn't do anything fancy. He just plays the game."
Rosales is making the most of the opportunity to play alopngside Castro and the other veterans in the team, which preserved a perfect 2-0 win-loss record.
"Definitely, I’m playing behind Jayson so I think I can learn a lot from him and with all the veterans in the team, like Danny (Seigle), Harvey (Carey), Ryan (Reyes), Kelly (Williams), all those guys, they’ve been teaching me a lot in practice and off the court," he said.
"I think that veteran mentality and along these coaches who have lot of experience is something I wanted to come into," added Rosales.