Troy Rosario not resting on laurels, strives to keep proving himself worthy of Gilas spot
Troy Rosario shows his range by hitting five three-pointers against Gilas in the PBA All-Star Game in Cagayan de Oro on Wednesday night. Jerome Ascano

CAGAYAN DE ORO – It was a tryout as much as a tune-up for Troy Rosario on Wednesday night.

Troy Rosario felt he was under the microscope as far as his inclusion in Gilas Pilipinas’ Final 12 was concerned while playing for the Mindanao All-Stars in their 114-all stalemate.

“Para sa akin, isa rin ako sa nakikipaglaban ng spot eh – kahit nasa kabilang team ako,” the TNT Katropa combo forward said after the game. “Talagang ginawa ko lang yung best ko para maipakita rin na pwede rin ako maglaro sa Gilas.”

Rosario is vying for a return to the national side after being part of coach Tab Baldwin’s final lineup for the Olympic Qualifying Tournament last year.

And the 25-year-old PBA sophomore lived up to expectations as he registered a game-high 28 points on 11-of-16 shooting, four boards and one block in just 26 minutes to share the Cloudfone-MVP award with fellow national team aspirant Matthew Wright.

“Masaya ako na pangalawang taon ko pa lang, nakuha ko na yung MVP,” Rosario, an import for the height-challenged Mindanao selection, said. “Kahit nga parang dinagdag lang ako dito, ako pa rin yung (inasahan nila).”

[See Wright, Rosario, Jalalon build case for inclusion in Final 12]

Rosario showed he can indeed replace Ranidel de Ocampo as the team’s new stretch-4 as he knocked down five of the team’s 12 triples, playing under Star coach Chito Victolero.

“Nasa sistema rin,” Rosario said as he played down his outside shooting. “Pinapatira naman ako ni coach Chito kanina. Talagang binibigyan ako ng play. So aanhin ko yung open shot? Alangan hindi ko itira?”

More than his desire to put up a brilliant individual performance, Rosario was simply doing what’s best for Gilas as a unit.

“Para rin matulungan yung Gilas program, para makatikim na agad ng competition, so sineryoso lang namin yung laro,” Rosario said. “Sabi namin, kailangan dikit yung laban hanggang fourth, para may chance kami.”

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos