TNT rookie Rosario shines in first PBA playoff despite jitters, sprain
MANILA, Philippines – Jitters and a mild sprain could not stop rookie Troy Rosario from leaving a mark in his PBA playoff debut with the Talk ’N Text Tropang Texters.
This year’s second overall draft pick made an impression Saturday, December 26, leading the Texters to a 90-88 escape of sister team NLEX Road Warriors in phase 1 of the 2016 PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinals.
Rosario, 23, posted a team-high 20 points, pulled down 6 rebounds and dished out an assist in the win that shoved TNT into quarterfinals phase 2. They will face Rain or Shine in a sudden death match to make the semifinals Monday, December 28 at 7 pm.
“At first I felt stunned. That’s why I scored only two points in the first half. It was like my hands were too heavy and I did not want to shoot,” the former UAAP champion out of National University said in Filipino of the jitters he experienced.
“I was hesitant to shoot but when I came out in the second half I just told myself I will shoot the ball this time.”
At halftime, Rosario resigned himself to stepping up and playing better in the last two quarters. He overcome that first obstacle but later on had to weather a mild left ankle sprain he sustained early in the third period on a drive.
“The coaches kept asking me if I can go on. I said I can do it,” Rosario shared. “They trusted me and put me in even with an injury. And my teammates were all really determined to win this game.”
The 6-foot-7 big man played almost 35 minutes and made 9 of his 16 attempts from the field including a pair of 3-pointers. His triple capped an 8-1 run late in the fourth, giving Talk ’N Text an 88-81 advantage with 2:26 left.
“Their trust never goes away, my teammates keep passing me the ball. I could never have done that if my team didn’t trust me. I’m just happy my shots went in and I was able to help,” said Rosario, who also stepped up as top rookie Moala Tautuaa struggled and played just under 9 minutes.
Rosario is bracing for a tough battle against the Painters on Monday. He will attend practice Sunday with his left ankle heavily taped.
“That’s what we need. Ranidel (De Ocampo) is out so everyone has to step up. It just so happened I stepped up this time,” he said. “But every game I just stay aggressive and I’ll do what the coaches ask of me.” – Rappler.com