It took a while, but the TNT duo of Troy Rosario and Roger Pogoy have finally reached the PBA summit with the Tropang GIGA.
The two young stars helped TNT end a six-year title drought last Friday, when they defeated the Magnolia Hotshots in five games to rule the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup. It was the first PBA championship for both players; Rosario joined TNT in 2015 and Pogoy was drafted a year later.
"Ilang years ko na din hinintay 'to," said Pogoy, who cut an emotional figure after the final buzzer at the Don Honorio Ventura State University Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga last Friday.
Both have endured some near-misses since joining the Tropang GIGA. Most recently, they made the PBA Philippine Cup finals last season, only to lose to Barangay Ginebra in five games as injuries ravaged their squad. In 2019, they were favored against San Miguel in the PBA Commissioner's Cup finals but lost in six games.
It was thus a long and at times agonizing wait for Pogoy and Rosario, who both won championships in the UAAP before turning pro. Rosario actually won his title at Pogoy's expense, when the National University Bulldogs overcame the Far Eastern University Tamaraws in 2014.
A year later, Pogoy and the Tamaraws won their title by outlasting University of Santo Tomas in a thrilling three-game series.
"Five years ko hinintay 'to," Pogoy said of his PBA title. "Pero thank God na binigay niya sa akin."
Rosario, for his part, said the long wait was worth it.
"Talagang ang tagal ko nang pinagtatrabahuhan na makakuha ng isang championship sa PBA. Ngayong dumating, talagang sobrang saya kasi simula college hanggang dito sa pro, masasabi kong champion na ko," he said.
Both players are now looking forward to even more titles with TNT, having already signed contract extensions with the club.
There is great excitement within the franchise after ending a long title drought, especially with the presence of coach Chot Reyes and dynamic rookie Mikey Williams who earned Finals MVP honors.
"Sobrang excited (ko for the future)," said Pogoy. "All my teammates talaga, parang ang saya, ang saya kasama namin. Parang magaan lang sa loob lahat, so sobrang excited kami sa upcoming (campaigns) pa namin."