Is Troy Rosario in the conversation for Best PBA Forward?

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Is Talk N Text forward Troy Rosario legitimately in the conversation on who is the best Forward in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) today?

His recent play says he should be.

The Tropang Texters is badly in need of a win in their last outing in the eliminations and Rosario came out smoking to led TNT against a depleted, Grand Slam-seeking San Miguel Beer, 114-109.

Rosario was fielded for 34 minutes and he delivered 30 points, 10 rebounds and 2 assists on a very efficient 10 of 18 (55.6%) shooting percentage from the floor that includes 7 of 8 (58.3%) from three-point territory.

The key victory handed TNT the third seed in the semis and gave them a twice-to-beat advantage against fifth seed Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok.

Jason Castro is the resident superstar of the Tropang Texters but he is not getting any younger. TNT is probably on the move to establish a new face for the franchise and Rosario is surely one among those who have a valid claim for this spot.

Could Rosario fend off Roger Pogoy and new comer Ray Parks in the pecking order?

Exploiting the range

Key stat: Minutes per game: (2015-16, 25.8; 2016-17, 23.4, 2017-18, 27.4; 2018-19, 31.7) Three point attempts per game: (2015-16, 3.79; 2016-17, 3.13; 2017-18, 4.76; 2018-19, 5.6).

One of the more glaring aspects of Rosario’s game that he and his team began to maximize was his ability to make the trey and to throw it down. His three point shot attempts had been steadily rising since entering the league in 2015.

From 3.38 attempts in his first two years, the number grew to 4.76 last season and the current 5.6 this season. While it is true that his minutes per game increased, 24.4 in the first two years, 27.4 last season and 31.7 this season, it wasn’t as big as the jump in three-point attempts.

Steady from the floor

Key stat: Shooting percentage: (2018-19 season: 49.2% from the floor, 36.4% from three point area; 5.57 rebounds per game. Career: 46.8% from the floor, 33.7 from the three point area; 6 rebounds per game.)

Rosario’s steady shooting, especially from long range and dunks, and rebounding has been his contribution to the Tropang Texters during his stint.

TNT has been relying on the three point shot since the arrival of Consultant Mark Dickel and Rosario is been one of the key personnel who gets this kind of offense going.

Looking for all-around game

Key stat: Career stats in (1) free throw shooting: 65.2 %, (2) assists per game 1, (3) steals per game: 0.4, (4) blocks per game: 0.3.

Rosario’s knack is his lack of presence in the other aspects of the game and the mediocre conversion from the line.

The inconsistency from the line could potentially prevent Rosario from getting the ball during crunch time as teams might prefer to send him to the line instead. His lack of contributions in the other aspects also prevents him from attracting double and triples teams.

Impact on TNT wins

Key stat: In games they won this conference: (three point attempts per game, 6.13; three point shooting efficiency, 53.06%, field goal attempts per game, 11.63, field goal shooting efficiency, 61.29%.) In games they lost this conference:  (three point attempts per game, 2.67; three point shooting efficiency, 25.00%, field goal attempts per game, 7.33, field goal shooting efficiency, 59.09%.)

His shooting, however, has a direct impact on the team’s winning this conference.

Whenever his team wins, the takes more shots from the floor and shoot better. The difference is very telling in the three point shooting. He attempts more than six times and converts more than half of them during wins.

It is the exact opposite when they lost. He attempts about two and a half and converts just 25% of them.

Imports undoubtedly carry much of the load during the Commissioner’s Cup and the Governors’ Cup.

Rosario, however, will have to be called upon and have to perform well during the Philippine Cup if Talk N Text is to reach deep in the playoffs.

If Rosario maintains his torrid shooting and can evolve his game to include other facets of the game, he can be potentially the main guy for TNT in the foreseeable future and could give the elite forwards of the PBA a run for the best among them title.

By Armando M. Bolislis

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