JAYSON Castro showed he can make plays on the court – and on the whiteboard.
While he hit the biggest shots at crunch time, the Gilas Pilipinas star also flashed his coaching skills in Gilas Pilipinas’ 77-71 win over Japan at the start of the Fiba World Cup qualifiers on Friday night in Tokyo.
During one timeout halfway through the fourth quarter, Castro took the whiteboard from coach Chot Reyes and drew an offensive play against the Japanese's favored zone defense.
“That’s the kind of relationship that we have,” Reyes said. “He teaches me on what to do and it’s my job to follow him. Every player has that right to tell the coaches on what they seeing on the floor.”
“And I think that’s a big adjustment for us because Japan had a very effective zone defense against us,” he added.
Castro, who led Gilas with 20 points on 7-of-13 shooting, seven boards, six assists, and one steal in almost 29 minutes, echoed Reyes’ sentiment.
“Yung defense nila sobrang effective,” the TNT superstar said. “Since na-handle ako ni coach Chot before, parang yung play before. Na-realize ko na magiging effective kasi they deny the shooter.”
The play seemed to be effective as the Filipino dribblers managed to hold off the Japanese down the stretch. But still, the host team made Gilas sweat.
“First of all, we knew that we have a very high respect for Japan,” Reyes said. “We knew that we're in for a tough match. The important part of the game was when we had a nice lead, we know they have the ability to come back because they’re a quality team.
“It was important that when they came back and even got the lead, we stayed calm and did not panic and I think that’s the important part of the game, that the players remained positive and that allowed us to eventually get the victory,” he added.