TROY Rosario plans to enter the PBA draft as early as next year after helping National University win its first UAAP men's basketball championship in six decades.
The late-blooming big man from Cagayan province has drawn a lot of attention from scouts after a breakout season that saw him average a career-best 11.1 points and 8.6 rebounds per game for the Bulldogs on the way to winning Most Improved Player honors.
“We will see kung ano ‘yung magandang chance. Ang balak ko talaga, habang maaga, pa-draft na ako siguro next year,” said Rosario, a longtime back-up to Emmanuel Mbe at NU who had to deal with knee and back injuries in his first few seasons with the Bulldogs.
Despite his plans to turn pro as early as possible, Rosario said he is still open to joining the national team if called upon. He was once a member of the national youth team years ago.
“Marami pa akong kailangang i-improve sa laro ko. Pero kung bibigyan ako ng pagkakataon na makasama sa national team, ibibigay ko ‘yung best ko na mapunta doon. Alam ko na rin ‘yung experience. I think mag-iimprove din ang laro ko doon,” said Rosario.
NU coach Eric Altamirano is no longer surprised that Rosario, a college transferee from the Technological Institute of the Philippines, has drawn a lot of attention ahead of his jump to the PBA.
However, Rosario admitted he still has a lot to work on before he turns pro - the reason he wants to make full use of the upcoming D-League season.
The NU big man has received a lot of offers in the PBA D-League including Hapee Toothpaste, which already has a star-studded lineup that includes former NU teammate Bobby Ray Parks.
Rosario, however, said he is keeping his options open but assured he will definitely make a return to the D-League after playing for the NU-backed Banco De Oro squad last year.
“As of now, wala pa akong team. Maraming kumakausap pero sabi ko, after the season na. Sigurado ngayon may tatawag na. Pero ako, magpapahinga muna ako,” said Rosario.