The moment Jayson Castro had the ball and stood eye-to-eye with Tony Parker when the Philippines took on France Tuesday night, the anticipation for the matchup the crowd wanted to see was palpable.
The scene repeated itself when GlobalPort guard Terrence Romeo wiped his sneakers with his hands and checked in midway through the first quarter with Parker yet to take a breather.
“I felt excited and at the same time pressured,” Castro, who plays for Tropang TNT in the PBA, admitted when asked about the experience of being on the same floor with the kind of star power Parker boasts.
Romeo, the showman that he is, immediately went at Parker at the top of the key and tried to shake him off. The crowd rallied behind him, nearly everyone expecting the four-time NBA champion to stumble the way most of Romeo’s defenders do.
The 34-year-old Parker stood his ground, but eventually, Romeo had his moment. He drilled a contested triple with Parker’s hand on his face as part of Gilas’ blistering run early in the game that triggered an eruption from the crowd.
Parker, though, got the better of Castro and Romeo. He finished with 21 points, four rebounds and six assists in nearly 30 minutes of action to lead France’s 93-84 victory.
Romeo wound up with 19 points while Castro had 14 as both managed to leave quite an impression from Parker.
“They were pretty good. They were very aggressive. They try to make stuff happen. They were aggressive going to the basket and create open shots for their teammates and they play pretty well,” Parker said.
FIBA OQT: Philippines falls short against France