MANILA, Philippines – Troy Rosario, TNT KaTropa’s second-year standout out of National U, enjoyed his best game of the young 2017 PBA season when he exploded for 26 points and 7 rebounds to lead his team past the Alaska Aces last week.
Rosario shot 8-of-13 from the field, including 6-of-9 from deep, plus played a major role as TNT held off Alaska’s rally in the third period to improve their record to 4-2, tied for the second spot in the league standings.
According to Rosario, constantly practicing and playing with veteran teammates like Jayson Castro – a yearly MVP candidate – and Ranidel De Ocampo has made him elevate his performances.
“Yeah, especially when I’m with them on the court. I need to know what they’re doing,” Rosario answered in Tagalog, when asked if being with the two aforementioned national team players has improved his game.
“During practice, I study what they do and that’s also how my game improves.”
Rosario also gives credit to the coaching change of TNT, which moved on from Jong Uichico during the preseason and handed the reins to Nash Racela, a former longtime assistant of the KaTropa.
Rivals in college – Rosario’s NU Bulldogs defeated Racela’s FEU Tamaraws in the 2014 UAAP Finals – the two are now trying to win together in the pros.
“Of course we know our coaches changed,” Rosario said, before adding, “but we’re still getting used to it. Even if we’ve been with Coach Nash before, there are some new changes that he wants to happen.”
The stretch big man also said that Racela’s coaching philosophies are more suited for the team’s young core, which also includes Mo Tautuaa and RR Pogoy.
“It’s a bigger advantage because a lot of guys on the team are young.”
Rosario also said that, like against the Aces, the new head coach has given his young, on-the-rise star the green light to shoot.
“I practice those shots and that’s what the defense was giving me. That’s also our system – if I’m open, I have the license from Coach Nash to shoot it.” – Rappler.com