Bossing fans are up for a thriller as the team bears to start Season 47 with a new warrior in the ranks.
Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser is a breath of fresh air for a Blackwater Bossing franchise that has never really had a big-man prospect ready to make an impact in the PBA straight away. This may turn out to be a favorable representation of greater hope for a team that is probably looking to finally climb out of the vault.
Ariel Vanguardia told reporters during the league’s Media Day back on June 2, “He’s the future of this franchise.” A tough expectation to break for the new addition to the team, one he ought to maintain.
Even for a talent selected as the top overall pick in Season 47, these are rather lofty expectations, but Ganuelas-Rosser seemed unfazed by the pressure. The coach places trust and confidence on the young big man and more. Surely there is a lot to expect from young and fresh picks.
“I’m just taking it in stride,” the young Brandon said. “I’m honored that they think highly of me and they chose me at No. 1, so I’m just looking forward to going there, fitting in, and helping the team win as many games as we can.”
The thing that sets Ganuelas-Rosser apart is that he is a fairly well-known commodity, a necessity even, having won a PBA 3×3 championship and established himself as a five-on-five contributor during a two-year stay with Alab Pilipinas in the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL). Despite the fact that they are two very different sports in the world of basketball, the UC Riverside product assuage concerns that his return to his origins would be difficult.
Brandon states, “I think at the end of the day, basketball is basketball. There are some nuances that are different. but five-on-five is the game I’ve been playing most of my life”
He further explains. “I think instead of running east and west, I’ll be running north and south a little bit more. That is the only difference. I’m looking forward to it. It’s been a while.”
The Blackwater Bossings have hopes he can maintain or better on the bursts of brilliance he showed three years ago with Alab. The 6-foot-7 forward’s numbers in two seasons with the team don’t exactly scream dominant (4.8 points on 45 percent shooting, 2.7 rebounds, and 0.7 blocks in under 15 minutes), but he has the ability to be an All-Star level player in the PBA if he is given more opportunities.
According to Vanguardia “It’s not every day that you can get a 6-7 player with his versatility,” and continues “He can score, run the floor, and he’s also a rim protector, a good shot-blocker that we didn’t have before. It’s the first time that the franchise will have a legitimate big man that can really help us underneath.”
Offense wise, Ganuelas-Rosser is expected to do the majority of his damage as a face-up big instead of scoring off of post-ups. He’s flexible and can score in a variety of ways, but he’s far more productive in the halfcourt or on the break after a defensive stop when attacking off of advantages generated by teammates.
There is evidence to support his use of such play-types. When Ganuelas-Rosser was involved as a cutter (1.2 PPP during 20.3 percent of his possessions, the second-highest percentage in his portfolio) or in transition, Alab scored over a point per possession (PPP) (1.22 during 12.2 percent of his touches). Despite accounting for only 6.8% of his offense, the squad scored a remarkable 1.6 PPP in drives after catching passes.
Alab scored 1.5 point per possession when Ganuelas-Rosser rolled to the rim and 1.33 when he popped out of the action thanks to some superb timing on the rolls and also an extremely strong shot base on his jumpers.
On the basis of shooting proficiency since we are at it, it is easy to recall Ganuelas-Rosser was not hesitant to use his perimeter offense and was highly involved in catch-and-shoot situations, which accounted for the majority of his offense (28.0 percent). In those situations, Alab only scored 0.7 PPP, but that percentage might rise as Ganuelas-shot Rosser’s improves; in two seasons, he went 6-for-13 (46.1 percent) from the midrange and 30.9 percent from deep on only 1.4 attempts.
His passing is one aspect of his game that should be properly scrutinized. Ganuelas-Rosser is also intriguing as a playmaking focal point who assists teammates at the post, elbows, and at the top of the key. “A very mature player” as many enthusiasts describe, reliable too.
Over the course of two ABL seasons, he averaged just over 0.8 assists per game, but he demonstrated good ability to find cutters, hit shooters off drives, make the right play in the short roll in four-on-three situations when defenses play aggressive coverages vs. ball-handlers, and just keep sets moving:
“I get a lot of enjoyment in setting my teammates up, so hopefully that is something I can showcase more,” he fondly shares. “We have a lot of good shooters and a lot of good scorers on our team. They’re going to make my life pretty easy, passing out of the post and stuff like that. My playmaking ability is something that I’m working on and I want to show (more).” And this is prolly one of the many reasons for his selection.
His approach on defense is a little more straightforward: he’s sound and mobile, capable of guarding at least three spots and playing in both aggressive and conservative coverages. Ganuelas-Rosser is also a capable rim protector; with Alab, he swatted away over 1.6 blocks per 36 minutes, and opponents only scored 40% at the rim with him as the primary defender.
Luckily, he will be having a relatively good support system defense wise. He won’t be carrying the entire defense by himself, but with him in the center, a Blackwater team that has continuously registered a bottom-two defense over the previous couple of seasons should be able to put up a better fight moving ahead.
Despite being without Ganuelas-Rosser for the first two games of the 2022 Philippine Cup, an upstart Blackwater managed to shock defending champion TNT Tropang Giga to start the new season and then play 47 minutes of solid basketball before losing a close one to Barangay Ginebra to go 1 to 1 — already a significant accomplishment for a core that set a new record for most consecutive losses ever last year, and a slate that could be improved upon with the big man possibly.
However, Ganuelas-Rosser recognizes that his presence does not guarantee brighter days right away. As encouraging as this start has been, Blackwater still has a long way to go before challenging for anything in today’s PBA, and the route to get there is littered with losses, disappointments, heartbreaks, and frustrations for a club that has been the very meaning of those terms.
Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser nonetheless is willing to begin this journey with Bossing despite snags as there is really just no perfect team in any league.
Optimistically saying “I’m looking forward to just going out there and competing. I know that we’re going to go out there and play hard every game. We’ll be able to live with the results, win or lose, no matter what because we’re putting in the work. It is what it is, but obviously, you want to win more than you lose.”
“Winning, it takes time, it is a process. It does not happen overnight,” he added. “We have a team that is game and ready to work and put in the work to turn things around. I’m excited. It is not going to happen overnight, but I know it is going to happen soon.” Says Brandon.