MANILA, Philippines—The TNT KaTropa pair of Roger Pogoy and Troy Rosario are ready to put their full focus on the national team, even as they continue to deal with the pain of losing in the 2019 PBA Commissioner's Cup finals.
TNT was favored to win the conference after acquiring the services of former Houston Rocket Terrence Jones. They cruised to the top seed, overcame a speed bump against Alaska in the quarterfinals, and dethroned Ginebra in the semis.
But they were outplayed by San Miguel Beer in the championship series, with the Beermen's backcourt proving up to the task of limiting Jayson Castro, while their import, Chris McCullough, stood toe to toe with Jones. San Miguel won the series in 6 games to keep its Grand Slam bid alive.
Just a few days after the series concluded, Rosario and Pogoy — along with San Miguel's June Mar Fajardo and Marcio Lassiter — reported back to Gilas Pilipinas.
"Hindi naging maganda 'yung conference namin sa PBA kasi di namin nakuha 'yung championship," Rosario said on Wednesday, during the team's official send-off for the FIBA World Cup.
"Pero iba naman dito eh," he quickly added. "Para sa bayan ‘to. So konting pahinga lang. Kailangan talaga namin magsakripisyo."
Pogoy, who scored 13 points in their 102-90 loss in Game 6, said he has put the finals loss behind him.
"Kasi, 'pag iniisip mo pa, lalong made-drain ka mentally, parang napapagod ka," he pointed out.
Instead, all their focus is now on the Philippine national team, especially as they only have a little over a week before they begin their campaign in the FIBA World Cup in China.
"Focus na focus sa Gilas para isa na lang 'yung iniisip namin," said Pogoy.
Both players were tired, mentally and physically, after the series that featured more than its fair share of drama. Rosario took a brief vacation, and Pogoy spent time with his family, before they both returned to practice Tuesdaynight.
"Sa sobrang dami ng adjustments na nagawa nu'ng finals na 'yun, tapos tsaka mo naramdaman 'yung pagod nu'ng talagang nakita mong talo ka na," said Rosario.
Pogoy added: "After the series, natalo pa, lalo mo iniisip. Mas lalong nakakapagod. Kaya kailangan talaga naming magpahinga kahit mga 2 to 3 days lang."
Both players, along with Fajardo, are now working double time to catch up and re-learn all the plays of the national team. Though they missed a long stretch of the national team's preparation — including Gilas' training camp in Spain — the 3 are still expected to play crucial roles in the Philippines' stint in the World Cup.
It is a challenge that the TNT duo welcome.
"Sa trust na binibigay ni coach Yeng (Guiao) sa amin, talagang kailagan namin mag-deliver," said Rosario. "Saka hindi lang para sa'min 'to, para sa lahat."
Pogoy said: "Siguro, panindigan kung ano 'yung role mo sa team, kung ano 'yung kailangan sa team. Siguro ganu'n na lang kasi kami kami lang dito. Wala namang ibang players na tutulong sa'min kundi kami-kami lang."
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