If you ask former King Bulldog and current Talk ‘N Text rookie Troy Rosario what his best moment in young basketball career is, he will swiftly answer that his final year with the National University Bulldogs will forever be his best moment.
“Yung championship namin sa NU. 60 years yun [drought] e. Underdog kami papasok ng season tapos nagchampion,” Rosario said during the UAxSLAMPH Draft Suite with a huge smile as he recalled the moment the 60 year drought of the Bulldogs ended against the FEU Tamaraws in front of 25,000 spectators.
After struggling in his first few years with the Bulldogs due to injury, Rosario played and started all 20 games he played in during his senior year. He upped his norms to 11.3 points, 8.4 boards and 45.8% shooting in 27.5 minutes of action. He further increased his production in averaging almost a double-double in the playoffs with 12.3 points and 9.1 boards en route to the championship.
With the graduation of Rosario, Glenn Khobuntin, and Henry Betayene, the current batch of Bulldogs struggled to start the season. The team fell to a 0-3 pit after a heartbreaking loss against the Ateneo Blue Eagles.
According to Rosario, some of the team’s sophomores and juniors constantly ask him for tips with regards to how they could help the team. “Yung iba nakakausap ko. May mga nagtetext kasi sa akin, yung mga players na nagstastart pa lang. Tapos binibigyan ko sila ng advice.”
He promised his former teammates that he will watch the games every time his schedule permits to. “Sabi ko sa kanila, manonood ako every time na free ako,” the 6’7 forward promised the Bulldogs.
Even when he was on-duty with the National Basketball Team, the Cagayan-native never missed a Bulldog game. “Pag may free time kasi ako sa Gilas, yun yung time na may game din ang NU. So pinapanood ko talaga, kahit first quarter or second. Minsan second half pag walang ensayo naabutan ko,” he said.
“Siyempre pag nagstrustruggle yung team nalulungkot ako. Kahit papaano sila ang mga kasamahan ko at naging part ako ng team. Pag nakikita ko na nadodown sila pati ako nadodown din,” he remarked about the team’s struggles. “Pero sabi ko simula pa lang, yung 0-3 na simula nila wala yun kapag nagtuloy-tuloy sila at makapag-adjust sila, maganda rin ang magiging takbo ng National U.”
He also gave an advise to former frontline-mate Alfred Aroga. He knows that Aroga is curently embattled with his role with the team right now. “Well, masasabi ko lang kelangan din nila tulungan [si Alfred]. Last season, nagfocus siya sa offense. Siya yung go-to-guy na pinupuntahan namin pag kelangan namin maka-puntos. Ngayon kasi siya na isa mga leader,” he said about the 6’7 foreign student-athlete. “Kelangan niya di lang magfocus sa offense ngayon, so parang hinahanap niya kung papaano makatulong sa depensa rin. Pero sa tingin ko makakapag-adjust din siya.”
In a thrilling game against the then-perfect UST Growling Tigers, Aroga carried his team late in the game in converting on a game-winning fadeaway jumper to give NU a 55-54 win. “Talagang assertive siya sa opensa and sa defense talagang inaassert niya sarili niya,” he said as Alfred notched lines of 19 markers and 12 boards.
During the tense moments of that tilt, Rosario could not help himself as the urge to step on to the court and help his teammates set in. “Sobrang nakakamiss. Iba yung pakiramdam na nasa court ka sa nasa bleachers ka lang nanonood. Tulad kanina, parang gusto ko pumasok. May time nga kanina na nahuhulog ka sa upuan ko dahil gusto ko maglaro ulit sa NU at tumulong nung nadown sila,” he quipped. “Buti na lang nakahabol at nakuha yung stop. Nakuha nila yung stops of the game nung dulo.”
For Rosario, he knows that without the education he had with the university, he will not be where he is today. And for that, he is still contributing to the school in whatever way he can.
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