NATIONAL University forward Troy Rosario has vowed to bounce back in Game Two against Far Eastern University on Wednesday as the Bulldogs seek to extend the UAAP men’s basketball Finals to a do-or-die match.
Rosario led the Bulldogs in the first half of Game One, but was the missing link in the second half when the school failed to keep pace with the rampaging Tamaraws on the way to a 75-70 defeat.
After scoring 11 points in the first 20 minutes, Rosario mustered a measly point from thereon before going down with cramps with still over half a quarter remaining in the game when the Bulldogs were in the middle of a comeback.
The athletic 6-foot-7 power forward played only 23 minutes in the opener, but couldn't exactly pinpoint if it was fatigue or dehydration - or both - as the reason for the tightening in his left leg.
“Hindi ko lang alam, siguro pagod na rin siguro,” he said in a chat with Spin.ph after practice on the eve of the 3:30 p.m. encounter at the Smart-Aranta Coliseum.
“Kung kailan maganda na yung game ko, ‘dun pa ko nawala.”
One thing’s for sure, he vowed.
“Babawi ako,” said Rosario, who refused to tag the Tamaraws as their kryptonite despite losing to the men in green and yellow thrice now this season. “Nasa amin pa rin kung paano kami maglalaro. Wala naman sa kalaban yun.”
Whilew the Tamaraws are gunning for their first championship since 2005, the Bulldogs are trying to end a longer title drought that stretched back to 1954.
“Kung gusto nila, mas gusto namin,” Rosario said.
If their practice on Tuesday was any indication, it seems there’s hardly pressure for the Bulldogs.
“Aga nga namin natapos kanina,” he said after their 9-11 a.m. practice finished a few minutes earlier than usual.
Bulldogs coach Eric Altamirano felt it was a regular practice.
“(The mood was) wery upbeat and high-morale,” he said. “I think they’re ready for tomorrow.”
Their league-best defense, which allowed just 57.4 points to opponents in the eliminations, will again be key against the offensive-oriented Tamaraws, Altamirano said.
“We just have to focus on our defense and limit them and try to take the way the things they’re doing,” the NU Bulldogs coach said.