TROY Rosario's stock has risen considerably after his breakout performance in the Philippines' hard-earned win over Thailand in the 28th Southeast Asian Games semifinals on Sunday night, but the pro-bound forward is careful not to get ahead of himself.
Rosario hopes he has made an impression on PBA teams after his 27-point, 12-rebound performance in the Gilas cadets' 80-75 win over Thailand, but insisted he doesn't even see himelf as a lock for a top three position in the coming PBA rookie draft.
“Sana naman maging maganda (ang impression ng teams sa akin) pero sa tingin ko yung Top 3 hindi ko rin sure eh. Kasi ang dami ring pwedeng mangyari,” said the 6-7 slotman from Cagayan Valley.
“Para sa akin ma-draft lang ako, okay na ko. Hindi ako nag-aano na mag Top 3. Wala sa (isip) ko yung Top 3 na 'yan. Ang (importante) sa akin, mapapirma, mapalaro,” said Rosario in a video chat with Spin.ph from his Athlete’s Village room in Singapore.
The soft-spoken former National University standout, in fact, bared that he has already conceded the top pick overall to Moala Tautuaa, saying the Fil-Tongan forward, unlike him, already has a PBA-ready game.
“Hindi ko hinahabol 'yung first pick. Tingin ko nga mas bagay na bagay si Tautuaa sa first pick na 'yan. Kasi malaki siya at malakas,” he said. “Basta tingnan na lang natin sa draft. Ayaw kong magsalita ng ano eh.”
Rosario, in fact, said he considers Tautuaa the yardstick as he gauges how ready he is for the PBA.
“Nakalaro ko na si Moala, di ba sa D-League last year. Okay naman. Syempre, na-challenge ako nung siya 'yung kabantayan ko, kasi ito yung magiging first pick sa coming draft, so na-cha-challenge ako sa mga kaya niyang gawin,” he said of the 6-5, 200-lb. Tautuaa.
“Pero yung lakas nga ng katawan niya, 'yun nga yung edge niya sa akin. Malaki rin siya. Parehas kami ng laro.”
Despite his impressive performances with NU in the UAAP, Hapee in the D-League and with the Gilas cadets in the SEA Games, Rosario said he doesn't think he has a body or game that is ready for the pro league.
He knows exactly what to work on before making the jump to the pro ranks.
“Alam naman na iba ang laro pag sa PBA na. Matagal-tagal pa naman 'yung draft, may mga bagay pang kailangang i-improve,” the former Bulldog said.
“Kailangan ko pa talagang mag bulk up, 'yung lakas ng katawan sa PBA ibang iba eh. Manipis pa ko para sa PBA. Saka bata pa ko eh. Mga beterano na mga mama na yung nasa PBA, kailangan ko talagang magpalakas pa,” he added.
Asked about Gilas coach Tab Baldwin, who incidentally is also the team consultant of Talk 'N Text which will likely pick first in the draft, Rosario said they never discuss anything outside of the Sea Games mission.
“Hindi naman niya ako kinakausap about sa draft at sa Talk n Text, wala namang ganung nangyayari,” he said.
Here's the video chat interview with Rosario: