By Ernest Hernandez
Jayson Castor of TnT KaTropa gave Gilas Pilipinas a needed lift with another stellar performance against Chinese Taipei last Nov. 27. However, the feat took its toll on the 31-year-old, begging off from the traditional post-game press conference.
It turns out that Castro had a good reason. He revealed that he was nursing an injury even during their last game against Japan.
“Actually, before the tournament, may back spasms ako,” reveals Castro.
“Kaya after game, kailangan kong maraming stretch para mawala. At least, natapos na. Balik na kami sa mother team namin. Siguro rest ng kaunti then training ulit.”
Castro had initially retired from his Gilas duties but the drive to represent the country convinced him to call it off for another day. He now tries to pave the way for younger players to participate in the Olympics and the FIBA World Cup.
“Gusto ko lang maglaro para sa bayan at makapasok sa FIBA world cup at pinapangarap nating Olympics,” Castro said.
“The Blur” then explained that the team’s lack of effort was probably because of playing in front of their home crowd.
“Lahat gigil. Sinabihan kami ni coach na kalma lang like nung game naming vs Japan. Siguro dahil na rin sa home crowd,” bared Castro.
“Masyado lang kami naging confident na kayang-kaya namin. Yun nga, parang noong first quarter, yung mga easy pass ginagawa naming maganda kaya masyadong nawawala ang bola sa amin,” adds Castro.
Castro feels that the new FIBA format is a double-edged sword. His team can heal up and establish better chemistry before the next leg in February. A loss could damper their chances of making it to the top 3.
“Sobrang importante, kasi yung format ngayon, napaka-hirap. Every game counts, once natalo ka, may chance ka rin malaglag sa top 3,” said Castro.
“Going to this game din, kahit anong mangyari. Basta manalo tayo even na masama ang first half namin, buti gumanda nung second half. Pero, marami kaming natutunan sa game na ito.”
Castro finished the game at tea team’s top scorer with 20 points to go along with four assists and four rebounds.
For one of Gilas’ most experienced players, he feels that the time off can help the team improve their ball movement and zone before facing powerhouse Australia.
“Siguro yung first game namin, ok lang. Pero this game, we played terrible on both offense and defense. At the same time, yung weakness namin sa zone, hindi pa rin namin ma-execute. Maganda lang sa format, marami kaming preparation na yung mga weaknesses ma-improve namin,” ended Castro.
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