Can late Gilas call-up Rosario fill void left by De Ocampo? Troy sure hopes so
Troy Rosario is ready to embrace the role his TNT teammate Ranidel de Ocampo played if he makes the final Gilas lineup. Jaime Campos

TROY Rosario admitted bearing extra pressure after his late inclusion to the national pool where Gilas Pilipinas 5.0 will come from.

After national coach Chot Reyes picked him to be “Lucky 13” following the go-signal from the PBA and TNT management to get a second player from the team after Jayson Castro, the Texters combo forward admitted he was carrying an extra burden instead of feeling extra special for somehow being a late addition.

“Acutally dagdag pressure nga ‘yun kasi parang hinugot ka tapos ikaw lang isa,” Rosario said in a phone chat with barely hours after his addition. “Pero ayos lang.”

[See Troy Rosario added to Gilas pool]

Does being a “hugot” for Reyes, who had expressed his desire to add Rosario shortly after announcing the 12 players who completed the pool last Sunday, make Rosario a shoo-in for team? He played it down.

“Hindi naman,” the longtime Gilas cadet, who made his seniors’ debut for coach Tab Baldwin’s side for the Olympic Qualifying Tournament, said. “Bagong salta lang rin naman ako last time, so kailangan ko pa rin makipag-compete sa iba ngayon.”

[See Chot Reyes hoping to bring in Troy Rosario, other players to Gilas 5.0 pool]

But with the retirement of Ranidel de Ocampo, who had long believed that his young teammate is the one who can replace him as the national team’s top stretch forward, Rosario, who turned 25 last Friday, is prepared to live up to expectations.

“Nag-usap nga kami kanina ni Kuya Del eh,” Rosario said, referring to TNT practice earlier on the eve of their Philippine Cup matchup against GlobalPort at the Cuneta Astrodome. “Sabi niya na bakit daw wala ako sa pool kasi ako lang daw yung nakikita niya na pwede pumalit sa kanya, pero sabi rin na antay-antay lang daw ako.”

“Dagdag pressure na naman, pero ready to embrace the role naman,” the 6-foot-7 cager added. “Syempre masaya na nabigyan ulit ng chance na makapaglaro para sa bansa.”

[See RDO anoints Troy Rosario as next Gilas go-to stretch 4]

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos