Troy Rosario in favor of Gilas Cadets but still willing to play if invited

Even if the proposed plans of reviving the original Gilas Pilipinas program pushes through, Jeth Troy Rosario is willing to serve his national team duties.

The 6-foot-7 Rosario, 24, admitted on Thursday that he’s in favor of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas’ plans of reverting back to its initial formula of forming the country’s national cage team around the top amateur and collegiate standouts boosted by a naturalized player.

That bold move, according to the Tropang TNT rookie, could work wonders for Gilas Pilipinas in terms of its longer time of preparation and full commitment from team members ahead of two big cage events—the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup in China and the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.

“‘Yung Gilas Cadets program na bubuuin, pabor rin ako dun para at least may ready na players na kapag kinailangan mo, andun na sila,” said Rosario at the end of Gilas Pilipinas’ closed-door practice at the Meralco gym in Ortigas, Pasig City.

If SBP sticks with its old formula, that might lessen the chances of pro players making it to the national team.

But Rosario is hardly worried, saying he will make himself available if he’s given another chance to represent the country, just like what he did in helping Gilas Cadets in re-asserting their dominance in the SEABA Cup in Thailand last week.

“Willing pa rin naman ako maglaro sa Gilas Cadets program kapag pinatawag ako,” said the former National U star, the second overall pick in last year’s pro league draft.

Right now, Rosario admitted he’s solely focused on making it to the Gilas Pilipinas’ ‘Final 12’ for the Manila Olympic Qualifying Tournament set from July 5 to 10 at the Mall of Asia Arena where a precious ticket to this year’s Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil is at stake.

“Siyempre iniisip ko ‘yun pero nasa mga coaches naman ‘yun kung makakasama ako sa Final 12. Basta ako kung ano yung magagawa ko, gagawin ko lang. Kung ano ‘yung pinagagawa sa akin, gagawin ko lang rin,” he said.

His work ethic and fresher legs will be his advantages against his fellow Gilas aspirants, most of them pro league stars, said Rosario.

“Pagiging hardworking, kasi yun talaga ang edge ko dito. ‘Yung iba dito may na-prove na. ‘Yun lang rin naman ang gusto kong patunayan, na isa ako sa mga pinaka-hardworking na player,” he shared, adding his fine showing in SEABA Cup further boosted his confidence.

“Doon ako na-improve ‘yung shooting and attack game ko. Nadadala ko dito ang laro kong ‘yun. Malaking tulong sa akin ‘yung sa SEABA kasi angat na angat ang kumpiyansa ko.”

Rosario also admitted he’s relishing the chance to team up anew with his former Bulldogs teammate Ray Parks, a former two-time UAAP MVP who is now seeing action with the Texas Legends in the NBA D-League.

“Masaya ako kasi nakasama ko ulit siya. Nakabalik na siya dito sa ‘Pinas para maglaro sa national team. Ngayon magka-teammate na ulit kami,” he said. – By Jerome Lagunzad

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