All-around forward Troy Rosario saved his best performance for last in the Philippines' final game in the 2018 FIBA 3x3 World Cup on Monday at the Philippine Arena.
Not wanting to end their campaign with just a single win, after absorbing a heartbreaking defeat against Canada, Rosario was one of the catalysts in the Philippines' 19-12 victory over Russia.
The ever-versatile big man had his finest game in the tournament, churning in eight points, all from two-point range. He even had a stretch where he hit three straight shots from beyond the arc to catapult the home team to victory. It was a bounce-back outing for Rosario who only had two points against Canada and went 0-for-3 from two-point range.
Seemingly a perfect fit at the 3x3 game because of his inside-outside game, the 6-foot-7 Rosario remained positive even though the Philippines failed to make the quarterfinals stage.
"It's a good experience playing against the best of the best in the world." Rosario said. "I think this is what we need for future 3x3 tournaments. We already know what we need to do it's just unfortunate that we weren't able to enter the next round."
The TNT KaTropa star and Gilas Pilipinas mainstay is the lone Philippine player with 3x3 mileage. And even though he has represented the Philippines numerous times, Rosario knows that there is a difference in preparing for 3x3 basketball exclusively.
"We would have more plays to run and practice for," Rosario said if they had a longer prep time. "The endgame situations - like our games against Mongolia and Canada. We got a bit tired in the end. We didn't know what to run anymore."
Deemed as the best 3x3 player from the Philippines in 2016 as part of the Manila North Team, Rosario can set his eyes on an even bigger goal not just for himself but for the entire country: the Olympics.
"Any player would want to reach the Olympics. It's been a long time since a Filipino basketball player made it into the Olympics," Rosario mentioned as 3x3 basketball was recently considered an Olympic sport.
"I hope the program continues. I hope they build a team like this, because it's really fun to play," he added. "We're used to 3x3 play. It's just a matter of understanding the rules and a longer preparation time is needed."
As one of the up and coming stars of the Gilas program, Rosario also recommended that the same dedication with the national team could be considered for 3x3 basketball.
"I think a pool is needed," Rosario suggested. "The Gilas pool, where there's the selection for the FIBA 5-on-5, I think we also need a pool for 3x3."
Troy Rosario had his best game against third-ranked Russia on Monday. And hopefully, it won't be his last.