Troy Rosario had no business suiting up for TNT in Game 4 of the PBA Philippine Cup finals.
Already banged up with a head cut he sustained in the semifinals, the Tropang Giga suffered a dislocated finger and endured spinal shock following a scary fall in Game 3.
But Rosario played through pain in a surprise start in Game 4, rousing TNT to a 106-89 win over Magnolia on Wednesday, October 27, that put his side on the brink of its first PBA title in six years.
“Shout out to Troy. Really though, he shouldn’t be playing,” said Tropang Giga head coach Chot Rosario.
“The reason why we played him was really for inspirational purposes. As you can see, he couldn’t even catch the ball.”
Rosario struggled and put up just 5 points and 3 rebounds in Game 4, a far cry from his conference averages of 10.9 points and 7 rebounds.
But true enough to what Reyes intended, TNT drew strength from Rosario as it opened the floodgates by halftime with a blistering second-quarter display where it outscored the Hotshots, 33-15.
Mikey Williams dropped 26 points to lead four Tropang Giga players in double figures, while four others scored at least 8 points.
“[H]e said he wanted to try and I thought by him being there, the message of courage was going to rub off on his teammates. So really great heart shown by Troy here,” Reyes said.
“I think everyone followed.”
TNT listed Rosario “doubtful” for Game 4 as the team said he may need surgery on his dislocated pinky finger.
Also, Rosario felt just a 70% sensation on his left leg due to the spinal shock.
Reyes, though, saw Rosario showed significant improvement from his therapy that he opted to start him in Game 4.
“Still did not have a hundred percent sensation in both his legs and you can see with the way he played today – he couldn’t catch the ball, he was really kind of tender-footed,” Reyes said.
“But it was more than the skills for Troy for our team tonight.”
The Tropang Giga go for the clincher against Magnolia in Game 6 on Friday, October 29. – Rappler.com