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    Jayson Castro in line for Team Pilipinas call-up for Iran rematch

    Oct 25, 2018

    JAYSON Castro is in line for a call-up with Team Pilipinas for the fifth window of the Fiba World Cup Asian qualifiers as he becomes eligible at the end of a three-game suspension for his role in the Gilas-Australia brawl.

    National coach Yeng Guiao said there's a 'great chance' Castro will be called up for the Dec. 3 grudge match against Iran at the Mall of Asia Arena as his suspension ends in the Philippines' match against Kazakhstan on Nov. 30.

    "We're certainly considering him," said Guiao, who is set to meet with Commissioner Willie Marcial and the PBA board of governors on Nov. 6 to discuss the lineup and the team's buildup for the two home qualifiers.

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      Guiao said Castro's availability presents a dilemma for the national coaching staff, which he said will likely have to pick from among Alex Cabagnot, Paul Lee, Scottie Thompson and Castro for the three backcourt spots in the team.

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      The choices will become even more complex, Guiao added, if he decides to pick Stanley Pringle as naturalized player in one of the matches.

      "It will be tough to make the choices, but it will be a good problem to have," said Guiao, noting that the backcourt selections will be easier for the Kazakhstan game where Castro still won't be available for a call-up.

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      "But of course, all these is dependent on the players' willingness to play for the national team," Guiao added. "We do not force any player to play for the Philippine team. It has to be voluntary on their part."

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        Castro, 32, has been a vanguard of the national team since Gilas Pilipinas finished runner-up to Iran in the 2013 Fiba Asia Championship in Manila to earn a historic trip to the 2014 Fiba World Cup in Spain.

        The TNT star previously retired from international play but came back to lead the Chot Reyes-coached Gilas team in the qualifiers for the 2019 World Cup in China.

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        Aside from Castro, two other Gilas mainstays - Troy Rosario and Terrence Romeo - will be eligible for selection for the Iran game after serving out their three-game suspensions. Also eligible will be naturalized player Andray Blatche.

        Guiao has dropped no hint that Blatche is still being considered for selection.

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