MANILA – Matt Ganuelas-Rosser does not mind playing for spot minutes or the full 48.
Having contemplated retirement during the pandemic, the veteran TNT wing man is just grateful to still be on a PBA roster today to do what he loves.
“For me, it's all gratitude. I've worked hard since before I got to the PBA because basketball is what I have been doing pretty much my whole life,” he said.
Ganuelas-Rosser scored eight points, grabbed four rebounds, and dished out three assists in the Tropang Giga's 99-90 loss to the NorthPort Batang Pier on Friday, playing close to 27 minutes in his latest conference for the MVP-owned franchise.
“To still be doing it now, I'm just grateful to be doing this as my job. If I stopped playing in the PBA and went back to the United States, I would still be playing for fun to stay in shape. It's just my passion.”
It was in 2021 when the 6-foot-4 wing thought of hanging his jersey and basketball shoes for good in exchange for an office desk and a regular 9-to-5 job.
“A lot of people don’t know, during the pandemic, I wasn’t able to come to the first bubble, and I contemplated retiring then. This might be it for me, I said, with everything that was going on in the pandemic,” Ganuelas-Rosser said.
Having obtained a business-related degree at Cal State Poly-Pomona years back, Ganuelas-Rosser bared that he had “legitimate opportunities” to give up hoops.
“I was considering what am I going to do? I built a resumé, I had job offers for coaching high school, some private schools. My family, we were going through some stuff at the time. I considered retiring, I moved to the states and studied getting jobs, going on interviews, and started coaching a bit," he said.
The former Gilas Pilipinas mainstay even said had already uploaded a resumé on his LinkedIn, and had browsed several employment opportunities during the pandemic.
“I did a couple of interviews with coaches and former players who said I’m still young, I can still play. The pandemic put a lot of perspective for me. I put a lot of work into basketball, and this is all going to be taken away from me, what do I look back on?” he said.
Ganuelas-Rosser ultimately reconsidered his decision; San Miguel Beer traded him to the Terrafirma Dyip, where he would fulfill the remainder of his contract.
"There was something inside me that told me give it a try, keep it going. I had one year left on my contract with San Miguel, so I figured I will just finish my contract and see if this was still what I want to do," he explained.
"I’m so grateful I didn't stop yet. Look where I’m at now. I’m just grateful to be back in a position where I can compete for a championship and finally get one after so many years, I’m so happy."
After seeing action for the Dyip, the 2014 PBA Draft’s fourth overall pick returned to TNT – the franchise which helped him earn his first PBA championship.
“My last championship with TNT, I was the rookie. I had more minutes but I was taking advice from veteran leaders on the team like Harvey Carey, Jay Washington, Rob Reyes, Larry Fonacier, Jimmy Alapag was the team manager,” Ganuelas-Rosser said.
In his second tour of duty with the Tropang Giga, Ganuelas-Rosser added another title to his record, proving his decision to continue playing as worth it.
“This time around, it’s kind of like full circle. I wasn’t playing as much but I was being the vocal leader on the team during the games, practices, it was a full circle moment.”
Looking back at the past two years of his career, Ganuelas-Rosser said he credits his family for helping him come up with his final decision.
“With the support of my family, my wife and kids, they gave me the motivation to keep on trying and everything will be okay. So let’s try this one more time. It worked out perfect for me,” Ganuelas-Rosser said.
The wing man also said he feels blessed having played for two franchises who have both won several PBA titles.
"I feel extremely blessed to spend the majority of my career with two winning franchises, I’ll say. My whole basketball career from college to professional, I just kind of found my way to teams which have won, whether it’s Gilas, with NLEX in the D-League," Ganuelas-Rosser said.
"For me, everywhere I play, I just try to bring that winning mentality and that has kind of been my mantra since when I was in college. It doesn’t matter if I score or get a shot up, I will do what it takes to help the team win. Me having that DNA has helped the teams that want to win."
At 32, Ganuelas-Rosser feels he still has a lot left in the tank. Wherever the wind takes him, he embraces being able to enjoy the ride.
"We don’t play forever. A guy like me, I know that my time is numbered. I’ve played more years than I have years left. I just want to stay in the position where I’m helping my team win, whether it’s on the court or on film, or seeing things differently," he said.
"The glory, the stats are not important. It’s just winning and leaving a legacy behind where all my work goes into that. I want to play for as long as I am still competitive, in this league, wherever. For as long as I still feel competitive and I feel I can be used and I am still enjoying the game. That’s the big part."