It looked like the face mask didn’t bother Troy Rosario at all on Sunday.
The sweet-shooting forward was a force to be reckoned with for TNT after knocking down 6-for-12 treys en route to 22 points, five rebounds and a steal in the team’s 104-93 romp of San Miguel.
This was his first game back after missing the first three games due to a broken nose he suffered in a tuneup game last December.
“Mukhang suwerte nga. First time kong makabalik sa conference. Mabuti, yun nga, tumama. Nakatulong ako sa team,” Rosario said.
Seeing the KaTropa’s struggles in their first two losses admittedly pushed the 6-foot-6 forward to rush his return, although he had to stay patient and wait for the team to allow him to hit the court despite getting cleared by doctors earlier.
“Siguro yun na nga rin. Parang na-pressure na rin ako,” he bared. “Wala namang dahilan para di ako makalaro. Nakakatakbo naman ako, nakaka-shooting naman ako kaya pang nagdecide na rin ako na sabihin sa mga coaches na pwedeng i-try sa practice. May clearance naman na ng doctor kaya minadali na rin yung pagbalik ko.”
It still wasn’t an easy way back for the lanky forward, who said that adjusting to the face mask during practices still took a bit of time.
“Mahirap. Lalo na nung una ko isuot yung mask. Nung first time ko magpractice, talagang naninibago ako. Hawak ako nang hawak, ina-adjust ko nang ina-adjust kasi ‘yun nga, ‘pag tumatakbo ako, umiikot, kapag nababasa, natatanggal yung Velcro niya. Tsaka yung sa vision, sa peripheral. Parang nakakapanibago,” he explained.
It’s probably safe to say that he’s adjusted well.
That TNT win not only put them at .500 after a dismal start, but it also ended a nine-game losing streak over the defending Philippine Cup champions that stretched way back since the 2017 Commissioner’s Cup.
“Matagal tagal na rin. ‘Yun nga yung sabi ng mga boss kanina sa dugout. Matagal-tagal na rin kaming ‘di nananalo sa SMB. Masaya sila na nakaisa kami,” said Rosario.
Now, the next step left is staying the course for the KaTropa and rejoining Team Pilipinas practices for the sixth window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.
“‘Yun din isa kong iniisip nung nainjured ako kasi February yung window. Kaya rin minadali ko yung pagbalik,” Rosario said about his inclusion to the national team. “Baka sakaling ‘yun nga, malay natin makapaglaro. Eh ngayon, nakapaglaro na ako kaya sa tingin ko magiging ready naman ako if ever mapili ako.”