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How P2,000 changed Troy Rosario's fortunes

As the world continues to struggle with the COVID-19 pandemic, more people have been feeling the economic burden of it.

TNT's Troy Rosario has been involved in numerous fund-raising efforts for the less fortunate during the past months by putting jerseys up for auction and distributing relief goods to the homeless in his community. He is also trying to earn extra money by selling face masks and alcohol.

"Oo, sobra nakakita nga ako ng mga homeless, tapos parang naalala ko yung sarili ko e, kasi minsan din akong hindi kumain. [Nung] grade school o high school yata, isang beses lang ako kumain kasi nga sa sobrang hirap ng buhay sa probinsya," recalled Rosario, who shared his humble beginnings on the 2OT podcast on Saturday.

"Naalala ko pa nga yung pagpunta ko ng Manila talagang pinilit lang ng mga magulang ko e. Talagang yung natitirang binhi namin talagang binenta para may pamasahe ako, naaalala ko pa P2,000 lang yun e. Tinaya talaga para sa akin kaya alam ko yung pakiramdam nung wala," he added.

His whole family bet on him to turn things around, which led to immense pressure to deliver on a promising career as a high school varsity player.

"Kaya nung nandito ako talagang umiiyak ako e. Iniisip ko kung kaya ko kaya. 'Yun lagi kong ano e nung nandito na ako sa Manila. Kasi nung nasa probinsya ako sinasabi ko kaya ko pero nung nandito ako sa Manila parang medyo shaky na e. Sabi ko, kakayanin ko kaya?"

To add to his woes, he found out then that his mother was diagnosed with cancer six months later during the time he was trying out for Gilas Pilipinas. Fortunately, then National University coach Eric Altamirano offered to help. However, Rosario hit more snags as his previous team of two years, TIP, failed to give him clearance to practice for the national team.

"Bale dinala ko pa nga nanay ko sa TIP para magmakaawa na i-release yung papers ko kasi talagang ayaw i-release nun e. Medyo hindi nga naging maganda. Okay sa may-ari nung school kung nakausap ko lang kaso hindi ko nakakausap pero yun nga, nung nagpunta yung nanay ko doon medyo lumambot yung puso nila," Rosario said.

NU owner Hans Sy, Rosario said, gave him a condominium unit and took care of his mother's chemotherapy. Unfortunately, she lost her battle with cancer a few months later. Troy also lost his spot in TIP, and looked for a new school to study and play for. He rolled the dice with NU as a walk-in and was chosen by Altamirano, who assumed responsibility of a team that was trying to end decades of futility.

"Pinapagamot nila nanay ko, so nung wala akong school, talagang una kong pinuntahan NU kahit may mga offers sa ibang school," Rosario said. "Sabi ko mag-walk-in ako dito para mapakita sa kanila na 'yun nga, tatanawin ko yung utang na loob na tinulong nila. So nung nakita ko na maganda naman yung pamamalakad nila, kasi nga under SM na yung National U noon e, so talagang sa Sy family na."

Following his transfer, he was immediately sent to the United States to train for six months. All that hard work paid off as he and the NU Bulldogs ended a 60-year UAAP championship drought in 2014.

Winning the title meant so much for not only Rosario, but for the school as well.

"Well isa sa mga highlights ng career ko yun e. Nung pumasok pa lang kami sa Final Four talagang sabi ko unti-unti na aangat yung National University kasi noong una kong dating talaga dun, kapag sinasabi kong National University ako nag-aaral, and tanong agad sa akin saan yun?" mentioned Rosario.

"So parang sabi ko, 'Hindi niyo ba ano e ang laking university din noon?' ...Sabi ko balang araw makikilala rin 'yung National University, which is yun nga nagawa namin after 60 years na hindi nag champion, napa-champion namin tapos talagang yung school talagang nag-improve e," he added.

After leaving NU, Rosario's career blossomed even more. He has represented the Philippines in international competitions in numerous occasions as a member of Gilas Pilpinas and is currently one of the brightest stars of the TNT KaTropa in the PBA.