Former Cal Poly player off to Philippines

During his four years at Cal Poly Pomona, Matt Rosser finished seventh all-time in games played and helped the Broncos capture the NCAA Division II national title in 2010. As it turns out, those memories are likely just be the beginning of Rosser’s basketball adventures.

Born
in the Philippines, Rosser signed with the country’s National Team –
also called “Smart Gilas” – and has already completed his first week of
practice after flying across the globe to his new home on July 28.

“It
is an honor for me to represent my country,” said Rosser, whose mother
Gina is a native of the Philippines. “The national team coaches liked my
size at the point guard position. To compete against the bigger players
on the China and Japan national teams, hopefully I can contribute right
away.”

During Smart Gilas’ Aug. 4 practice, the team got a visit
from Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra. To view a picture of the
group, click here.
Similarly to Rosser, Spoelstra is a Filipino-American through his
mother’s side. Spoelstra is the first Asian American head coach in the
history of the four major American sports leagues and the first Asian
American head coach to win an NBA championship.

“I was watching
you doing your stuff and you know what, I miss it,” Spoelstra said to
the team. “I love coaching but I miss playing. Twenty years from now
you’ll be lying on your pillows and you’ll miss it too. So make the most
of this opportunity.”

Rosser, who grew up in Temecula, Calif.,
is expected to make his first Smart Gilas appearance at the annual
William Jones Cup, which will be held from Aug. 18 to Aug. 26 in Taipei,
Taiwan. The team’s biggest goal is to place within the top three slots
at the 2013 FIBA-Asia Championships, which would earn the country a spot
at the 2014 FIBA World Cup.

“Matt worked extremely hard during his time in Pomona,” Broncos’ head coach Greg Kamansky
said. “We’re proud of what he’s achieved and he’s certainly earned this
great opportunity. He brings a lot of energy to the game and the
national team fans should be excited about watching him play.

Other
top players on the Smart Gilas squad include Gabe Norwood and Jeff
Chan. Norwood played collegiately at George Mason and has become a
veteran of international competition, having competed in the Jones Cup
and the FIBA Asia Championship in 2007 and 2009. Norwood and Chan were
also teammates in the Philippine squad that won the gold medal in the
2007 Southeast Asian Games.

The Philippines National Team
typically trains at the “Filoil Flying V Arena,” formerly the “Arena in
San Juan.” San Juan is a city in Metro Manila.