Rosario makes triumphant return in PH win over Japan
The last time Troy Rosario saw action at Mall of Asia Arena, he found himself being carried out in a gurney after falling face-first in TNT’s game against Phoenix on February 7.
Three weeks later, the reed-thin forward came back with a vengeance, making sure he made his mark as he came through for Gilas Pilipinas in his return on Sunday.
Rosario was one of the sparks for the Philippines in its 89-84 victory over Japan in a game that propeled the home team into the second round of the 2019 Fiba World Cup Asian qualifiers.
“I didn’t expect that I’ll play that well, but there’s no miracle. Only hard work,” he said in Filipino after pouring 14 points, on a 2-of-4 shooting from threes, to go with four rebounds in the win.
Already ruled out to play in the second window, Rosario admitted that his callup came as a shock, but he’s glad to have repaid the faith coach Chot Reyes gave to him with a solid outing.
“After what happened to me, I no longer expected to make it to the lineup because I couldn’t get the clearance. But when I found out that I was included in the 12 for this game, I really prepared hard to give back on the trust that the team gave me,” he said.
— Randolph B. Leongson (@RLeongsonINQ) February 25, 2018
Rosario, together with Kiefer Ravena, June Mar Fajardo, Calvin Abueva, and Roger Pogoy, provided Gilas a much-needed lift from the second group after the home team fell behind early, 4-20.
The group conspired in staging a telling 37-6 blast abridging the first two frames to help the Philippines take control of the game, 41-26, in the second quarter.
“Those things happen, but I’m just happy that my teammates stepped up. Us from the bench made a run and it’s a good thing that though we had a slow start, we were able to sustain our form in the second half,” he said.
But the former NU forward argued that anyone from the team is ready to take the baton, whether its the starters or the guys off the bench, making Gilas Pilipinas all the more deadly.
“We’re just happy that we’re able to contribute. It doesn’t mean that we’re in the second five that we’ll only be there to give the first group a rest. We’re all trained to play as a team and that’s what we all did,” he said.
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