MANILA, Philippines – The rise of Troy Rosario’s stock over the past year has been impressive to watch.
After playing limited minutes from 2012-2013 with the NU Bulldogs, the 23-year-old standout shined in the championship season of his collegiate team in 2014 with more playing time as he averaged 11 points and 9 rebounds a game.
The 6-foot-7 Rosario’s game improved even more this past summer, when he showcased his athletic ability, refined skills, and fascinating potential with the Gilas Cadets team that won gold in the 28th Southeast Asian Games.
“Siyempre, nagugulat din ako kasi never ko na-experience yung ganito (Of course, I was also surprised because I never experienced anything like this),” Rosario said about the rapid development of his career during the Under Armour and SLAM magazine Philippines PBA Draft 2015 suite on Monday, August 17.
Rosario, who’s also part of the Gilas Pilipinas pool for the FIBA Asia Championship, is expected to be selected first or second in the 2015 PBA Draft on Sunday, August 23.
(It was my first time to experience something like this, when NU won the championship. Since then, it hasn't stopped. But I'm happy with te good development of my career. My hard work is paying off.)
When asked if he feels he should be taken number one overall – reigning PBA D-League MVP Moala Tautuaa is the other consensus top pick – Rosario said the thought isn’t in his mind.
“Ayaw ko isipin yun e. Kasi, hindi ko alam kung anong balak ng team nakukuha sa akin (I don't want to think about it, because I don't know the plans of the team that's going to get me),” said the former NU Bulldog, who will be with the Gilas pool in Estonia until August 24 for a pocket 3-day tournament.
Assuming they don’t trade their selections, the Talk ’N Text Tropang Texters and Mahindra Enforcers will pick first and second in the draft.
Does Rosario have a preferred landing spot?
“Hindi ko talaga kayang sagutin 'yan kasi hindi naman puwede mamili eh (I really can't answer that because it's not like I can choose),” said the national team cager who scored 27 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in a SEA Games contest against Thailand in June.
“Ang liit ng mundo ng basketball e.” he said. “Puwede akong mapunta sa isang team ngayon, tapos 'pag nakapagsalita, well, magkakaroon ka pa ng conflict sa ibang team.”
(The world of basketball is small. I can end up with one team, then if I talk, well, there could be conflict with other teams.)
Rosario, however, knows exactly which players he wants to mold his game after, opting for a mix of both offensive and defensive prowess.
“Gusto ko ma-compare sa dalawang idol ko – si Ranidel de Ocampo at Marc Pingris,” he said. “Combination. Gusto [ko] ganoon kalabasan ng laro ko.”
(I want to be compared to my two idols – Ranidel de Ocampo and Marc Pingris. I want my game to be similar to theirs.)
While Rosario may have a long way to go to match the defensive ability of Pingris, many analysts are already saying that his offensive capabilities could one day rival those of De Ocampo, who’s also part of the Gilas pool and was the Finals MVP of the 2015 Commissioner’s Cup.
Some pundits are even going as far to say that Rosario could be De Ocampo’s successor in Talk ’N Text.
“Hindi ko ina-accept,” he said about the discussion, “pero masarap pakinggan (I'm not accepting it, but it's nice to hear it)."
He added, “Malay natin, puwede rin siguro mangyari (We never know, it just might happen)." – Rappler.com