No. 1 pick Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser ready to be the big man Blackwater Bossing have been crying out for

Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser was taken by Blackwater Bossing with the No. 1 pick of the PBA Season 47 draft back in May. PBA Media Bureau

For a Blackwater Bossing franchise that has never really had a big-man prospect ready to make an impact in the PBA right from the get-go, Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser is a godsend -- a breath of fresh air, and perhaps a representation of greater hope for a team that is probably looking to finally climb out of the cellar.

"He's the future of this franchise," head coach Ariel Vanguardia told reporters during the league's Media Day back on June 2.

These are enormous expectations for anyone, even for a talent tabbed as the top overall pick of the Season 47 draft, but Ganuelas-Rosser does not appear to mind the weight on his shoulders.

"I'm just taking it in stride," the 27-year-old 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 allure with Ganuelas-Rosser is that he is pretty much a known commodity -- a winner at the PBA 3x3 level, and a proven contributor at the five-on-five back during a two year-stint with Alab Pilipinas in the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL). While those are two completely different sports in the world of basketball, the UC Riverside product allayed worries that there would be a long adjustment in his return to his roots.

"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 explained.

"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."

Blackwater is hoping that he retains or improves on the flashes of greatness that he displayed three years ago with Alab. The 6-foot-7 forward's numbers through two seasons there don't exactly scream dominant (4.8 points on 45 percent shooting, 2.7 rebounds, 0.7 blocks in under 15 minutes), but he boasts the potential to be an All-Star level talent in an expanded role in the PBA.

"It's not every day that you can get a 6-7 player with his versatility," said Vanguardia. "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."

On offense, Ganuelas-Rosser projects to do most of his damage as a face-up big rather than scoring off post-ups. He's versatile and can score in an array of ways, but he's much more effective when attacking off of advantages created by talents around him in the halfcourt or on the break, after a defensive stop.

There's data to justify his usage on those play-types. Per tracking data from InStat, Alab scored over a point per possession (PPP) when Ganuelas-Rosser was involved as a cutter (1.2 PPP during 20.3 percent of his possessions, the second-highest figure in his portfolio) or in transition (1.22 during 12.2 percent of his touches). The team also scored a whopping 1.6 PPP in drives after catching passes, though that only comprised 6.8 percent of his offense (fifth).

Ganuelas-Rosser was not involved a lot in the pick-and-roll, but Alab scored 1.5 PPP when the big man rolled to the rim and 1.33 when he popped out of the action thanks to some impeccable timing on the rolls and a relatively solid shot base on his jumper.

Speaking of shooting, Ganuelas-Rosser was not at all hesitant with his offense on the perimeter and was heavily involved in catch-and-shoot situations, where the majority (28.0 percent) of his offense came from. Alab only scored a meager 0.7 PPP in those instances, but there's a chance that figure sees an uptick as Ganuelas-Rosser's shot stabilizes; in two seasons, he shot 6-for-13 (46.1 percent) from the midrange and 30.9 percent from deep on under 1.4 attempts.

One area of his game that should be monitored very closely is his passing. Ganuelas-Rosser also possesses a lot of intrigue as a playmaking hub creating for others at the post, at the elbows, or at the top of the key.

He logged just over 0.8 assists over the course of two ABL seasons, but he showed good ability to find cutters, hit shooters off of drives, make the right play in the short roll in four-on-three situations when defenses play aggressive coverages vs. ball-handlers, and just generally keep sets moving:

"I get a lot of enjoyment in setting my teammates up, so hopefully that is something I can showcase more," he shared. "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)."

Defensively, his impact feels a little more straightforward: he's sound and mobile, capable of guarding at least three positions while possessing the ability to play in both aggressive and conservative coverages. He's also an able rim protector; Ganuelas-Rosser swatted away over 1.6 blocks per 36 minutes with Alab, and opponents only shot 40 percent at the rim with him as the primary defender, per InStat.

He's not going to carry an entire defense all by himself, but a Blackwater outfit that has consistently posted -- at the very most -- a bottom-two defense over the past couple of seasons should put up more of a fight with him in the middle moving forward.

Not that the Bossing have needed him early on to do just that, anyway.

Even with Ganuelas-Rosser sidelined in the first two games in the 2022 Philippine Cup, an upstart Blackwater still managed to shock defending champion TNT Tropang Giga to open the new season and then play 47 minutes of solid basketball before dropping a close one to Barangay Ginebra to go 1-1 -- already a significant achievement for a core that set a new record last year for most consecutive losses ever, and a slate that could be improved upon with the big man possibly debuting on Saturday against NorthPort Batang Pier as he nears full recovery from a fractured right finger.

But Ganuelas-Rosser understands that his addition does not guarantee better days immediately. As positive as this start has been, the fact remains that Blackwater has miles and miles to go before actually contending for anything in today's PBA, and the road to get there entails a ton of losses, disappointments, heartbreaks and frustrations for a franchise that has practically been the very definition of those words.

Ganuelas-Rosser, though, is just willing to begin that journey even with all the pitfalls.

"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," he expressed.

"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."