Returning Castro gets groove after slow start
Though sluggish at the start in his return from injury, Jayson Castro eventually got his bearings to lead TNT’s 114-103 rout of Rain or Shine on Monday.
“Nag-shootaround pa rin ako para pagpawisan lang pero nung first quarter, sobrang di ko makuha yung rhythm ko. Kita naman sa missed layups at missed jump shots,” recalled Castro, who sat out TNT’s game against NLEX last week to rest his injured Achilles.
Persistence pays, and Castro was rewarded with 26 points on 10-of-14 shooting from the field along with four rebounds and four assists off the bench.
“Sabi lang ni coach na maging aggressive pa rin ako, especially on defense, para makuha yung rhythm sa opensa. Nagpapasok lang din yung mga tira ko,” he said.
It also helps that the Tropa have seen a surge in the production of Castro’s supporting crew, with import David Simon holding his own against the hefty Elasto Painters bigs.
“Parang two games na yung balanced scoring namin, especially sa second unit,” Castro said. “Ako, nasa second unit ngayon para mas maging balanced yung scoring ng team. Para pag wala si David sa game, marami akong magagawa.”
The victory was crucial as it pulled TNT back in the thick of things. At 4-4, it has leveled itself with Rain or Shine, Mahindra, and Star in the middle of the standings.
“Parang lahat ng game ngayon sa amin, do-or-die na. Once na matalo kami, sobrang dikit-dikit ang standings, isang talo, bababa ka talaga,” said Castro. “Sabi nga ni coach sa amin na we have to treat this game as a do-or-die dahil malabo na tayo makapasok (sa top eight) pag natalo tayo.”
And this desperation of sorts has made the national team standout decide to rise through the pain and come through for his crew.
“Medyo masakit pa rin pero after this game, may break pa. Kailangan ulit mag-rehab,” said Castro. “Ready na lang sa next game ulit. Kailangan naming manalo against Ginebra.”
Castro and the rest of TNT has a showdown with Ginebra next in its schedule set on March 30.
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