CAGAYAN DE ORO – They may be not be from Mindanao, but Troy Rosario and Sonny Thoss are definitely feeling right at home, particularly in this Misamis Oriental capital that hosts the first leg of this year’s PBA All-Star week on Wednesday night at the Xavier University gym.
Tapped as “imports” to reinforce a guard-laden Mindanao All-Star team giving Gilas Pilipinas a tune-up before its first major tournament, Rosario and Thoss, who both stand 6’7”, have mingled with not just their teammates but also the local fans.
“Yung salubong sa atin ng mga fans, talagang kala mo taga-dito tayo eh, lalo na nung unang baba natin (sa airport),” Rosario said in a chat with SPIN.ph.
“Minsan nga binibisaya nila, akala nila taga-dito ako eh. Minsan hindi ko maintindihan,” the Cagayan Valley native added with a chuckle. “Nagha-‘Hi!’ na lang ako. Pero masaya pa rin na napasama ako sa Mindanao.”
The Filipino-German Thoss, who’s eligible to play for the Visayas team as his mom, Jesusa, hails from Cebu, hardly feels like an outsider in Mindanao as he cherished his reunion with former Alaska teammate Cyrus Baguio.
“I feel at home,” Thoss said. “I’ve been playing with these guys for a while now, so it’s just another opportunity to have fun.”
Rafi Reavis and Mo Tautuaa are the only legitimate big men on the team featuring Scottie Thompson, Baser Amer, Jio Jalalon, Mark Barroca, PJ Simon, and Carlo Lastimosa, and Baguio.
“Malaking tulong kami ni Sonny … may kapalitan si Kuya Rafi,” Rosario said. “Pwede ako maglaro ng kuwatro, at the same time, pwede rin naman ako mag-singko kung kinakailangan.”
Thoss, who’s in his 11th All-Star appearance, but just his first since 2013, agreed.
“I’m trying to add a little bit of weight to the team,” the Aces star slotman said with a chuckle.
Tipoff of the exhibition against the national team is at 7:30 p.m. – the first of a three-game series in the midseason spectacle sponsored by HMR Trading, Mueller, Peak, Crystal Clear, Anako, Davco, Smart, Cloudfone, Petron, and Buffalo Resto Grill.