No Japeth? No problem. While the new Ginebra forward is busy reppin our flag with Gilas, a new name emerges as the first potential Filipino to have a shot at the NBA. Kris Rosales is a 22 year old pure Filipino who has been working out with several NBA teams in hopes of landing a contract. The 6 foot PG from Hope International University was also the GSAC player of the year. SLAM has the exclusive on what’s going on with Kris.
SLAM: How did you start out playing ball?
Kris Rosales: I started playing basketball in the backyard of my house around the age of 4. My dad, Nielon Rosales, built a basketball court for my brother Nayton and I. I joined my first basketball league when I was about 7 years old in the city of Bellflower, CA.
SLAM: Go through your basketball career so far.
KR: Well I played for St. Bernard Catholic School before attending St. John Bosco High School in Bellflower, CA. I played one year of JV basketball and three years of varsity basketball at St. John Bosco under Coach Chris Madigan. After high school, I accepted a scholarship from Coach Bill Czech to play at NAIA Division 1 school, Hope International University.
– One man who has taken Kris under his wing is Coach Leo Balayon, who has helped out a couple names doing well here in Japeth Aguilar and Matt Ganuelas-Rosser. Balayon is also high on another trainee of his, Leo Devera from San Sebastian (6’4, plays multiple positions). Balayon says he’s known Rosales for 3 years and is a great PG in the mold of LA Tenorio. “Last year when Kris was working out with Japeth, former Lakers Assistant Coach Jim Cleamons was really impressed with him. I always knew Kris was good but at that point I realized how special he was.”
SLAM: How did you meet Coach Leo?
KR: I met Coach Leo Balayon when we played his team during the pre-season of my Junior year at Hope International University. After the game we got in contact with each other and have been friends since. He has been training a variety of players and is very good at it.
SLAM: I heard you’re working out for some NBA teams, which ones and how’s that going?
KR: Yes, I have worked out in front of the Toronto Raptors scout twice, once in Fullerton and the other in LA. I worked out for the Sacramento Kings at a local high school in Sacramento were I was working out with Don Sellers and Guss Armstead. Recently, I worked out with the LA Clippers at their practice facility and a day later I flew to New Jersey to workout with the Brooklyn Nets at their facility. It has been a great experience because I have been able to measure myself against some potential first and second round picks in this year’s NBA Draft. I have the chance to see what I am good at and what I need to work on which is very important. Other than that, I am just trying to enjoy this experience because it does not happen all the time. I have been blessed to meet some great NBA players in Blake Griffin, Deron Williams, and recently retired Jason Kidd.
SLAM: Any plans of playing in the P.I.?
KR: Yes, at some point in my career I would love to play in the Philippines. I have some friends who play in the PBA and I always ask them questions because I want to know what it is like out there. Ryan Reyes and Karl Dehesa are victims of my questions, but I only do it because I look up to them.
SLAM: What’s the short term plan for you now?
KR: I am currently awaiting to see if I will be able to make an NBA Summer League team. If that doesn’t happen then my agent, Ara Vartanian and I, will focus on the NBA D-League Draft. In the mean time, I will keep working hard every day to improve all aspects of my game. Whatever happens, I just want to thank my family, Nielon, Jean, and Nayton Rosales because they have made this journey great with their support. I want to thank my girlfriend, Hillary Brown, because she has supported me whether I have a good or bad game for the last 7 years.
–Check out this vid of Kris in action.