IT could have been the mask.
Despite wearing a protector to cover his injured nose, Troy Rosario played like his old, deadly self in TnT Katropa’s 104-93 demolition of PBA Philippine Cup defending champion San Miguel Sunday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Katropa’s resident ‘strecth 4’ sizzled hot from beyond the arc, hitting 6-of-12 of his shots to finish with 22 points behind top scorer Jayson Castro (24).
He added five rebounds and shot 7-of-13 from the field in his first game of the season after recuperating from a fractured nose he suffered during a pre-season tune-up game against NLEX which compelled him to wear a black protective mask.
“Mukhang suwerte nga. First time kong makabalik sa conference, mabuti tumama,” he said with grin.
The former National University standout admitted feeling some pain on the injured nose after being hit during the course of the game, though there was nary a bit of concern on his part.
“Medyo masakit ngayon, parang maga sa loob. Pero sa tingin ko hindi naman ganoon ka grabe. Buti nga hindi dumugo,” said Rosario.
The win was the second straight for the Katropa, enabling them to even their record at 2-2.
The scenario of seeing his team further going down the standings with a loss against the Beermen prompted Rosario to quickly make himself available notwithstanding the danger of re-injuring the nose again.
“Parang na-pressure na rin ako sa mga injuries (players). Yung injury ko naman parang hindi naman ganung dahilan para hindi ako makapaglaro kasi nakakatakbo naman ako, nakaka-shooting naman ako,” said the lanky 6-foot-6 Rosario.
“Kaya nag-decide na rin ako para sabihin sa mga coaches na baka puwedeng i-try sa practice.”
He also had been given the clearance by team doctors to play.
But it wasn’t easy.
“Parang ilang akong gamitin yung mask. First time kong mag-practice talagang naninibago ako, hawak ako ng hawak,” said Rosario.
“Yung sa vision ko, sa peripheral parang nakakapanibago.”
In due time, Rosario knows he’ll get adjusted wearing the mask during games.
And the Katropa will get adjusted having one of their old reliable players back again.