TROY Rosario admitted Hapee had a lot to learn from its 77-80 defeat to Cagayan Valley - the Fresh Fighters' first in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup.
Although the match obviously has no bearing other than bragging rights since both teams are already assured of berths in the semifinals, the loss was still a wake-up call for the Fresh Fighters who were considered unbeatable owing to a formidable lineup.
Rosario and the rest of the team were humbled following the loss that relegated Hapee to second place (10-1) behind the undefeated Rising Suns (11-0).
“Masakit matalo pero I think ‘yun ang kailangan namin,” Rosario said. “Sa sampung game namin, hindi namin napapansin kung saan kami mahina. Nakita namin na marami pa kaming dapat i-improve as a team.
“Sabi nga ng mga coaches namin, we needed that loss para makita namin kung ano ‘yung kulang namin,” said the big man out of National University.
During the game, Rosario took turns with Ola Adeogun in battling Rising Suns’ big man Moala Tautuaa.
Rosario finished with 12 points and seven rebounds, while Adeogun added 10 and six boards.
Still, the two Hapee big men proved no match for Tautuaa, a top prospect in next year’s PBA Draft, as the hulking Fil-Tongan fired 24 points including two three-pointers for the Rising Suns, to go with nine rebounds.
Rosario said it was the first time Hapee had to endure a physical game, something the Fresh Fighters hope to grow accustomed to.
“’Yun ‘yung game na pinakapisikal na linaro namin. Nag-struggle kami sa executions at hindi kami nakapag-adjust,” Rosario said.
Rosario was presented during the first ever Spin.ph Sportsman of the Year awards night on Monday at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza hotel as he joined his teammates at National University as part of the Top 10 sports heroes of 2014.
After his stint with the Bulldogs, Rosario bared he intends to join the PBA Draft later this year, a plan that he aims to keep.
He, however, is still focused on his ongoing campaign in the D-League for the Fresh Fighters.
“May susunod na conference pa bago draft. Tapusin ko muna ‘yung conference na ito and ‘yung second conference. Pero balak ko talaga, this year na. Wala na rin akong gagawin. Nandoon na rin tayo, kailangan na magpa-draft,” said Rosario.