Masked man Rosario returns with flair



MANILA, Philippines – Troy Rosario missed significant time for TNT due to a nose injury, and he didn't waste another second to make up for it.

The athletic forward was hardly bothered by the mask he wore to protect his nose as the torched reigning champs San Miguel in the KaTropa's 104-93 win in the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup on Sunday, January 27.  

As if not coming off a month-long hiatus after he sustained a broken nose in a tuneup match in December, Rosario waxed hot for 22 points off 6 triples and added 5 boards and a steal in 28 minutes of play. 

"Mukhang suwerte nga," Rosario said of his face mask. "First time kong makabalik sa conference. Mabuti, 'yun nga, tumama. Nakatulong ako sa team." 

(It looks like the face mask brought me luck. This is my first game. Fortunately, my shots fell and I was able to help the team.) 

Due to the gravity of his injury, the 27-year-old was expected to be sidelined for more games and return only in February. 

But the KaTropa's back-to-back losses in their first two games had Rosario rushing his recovery. 

"Parang na-pressure na rin ako. Wala namang dahilan para 'di ako makalaro. Nakakatakbo naman ako, nakaka-shooting naman ako kaya nag-decide na rin ako na sabihin sa mga coaches na puwedeng i-try sa practice," he said. 

(I felt pressured by the losses. There was really no reason for me not to play. I was already able to run and to shoot so I decided to tell the coaches to let me practice.) 

Rosario, however, admitted it wasn't an easy path to his return, especially with the need to wear the face mask. 

"Noong first time ko mag-practice, talagang naninibago ako. Hawak ako ng hawak, ina-adjust ko nang ina-adjust," he said. "Tsaka 'yung sa vision, sa peripheral. Parang nakakapanibago."

 (When I first practiced, it felt weird. I was always adjusting the mask. And then I had a hard time adjusting with my vision because it affected my peripheral.) 

Now at 2-2, Rosario and the KaTropa shoot for their second straight win against Meralco on Wednesday, January 30, at the Cuneta Astrodome. –

Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.