JAYSON Castro is ready to share his experience to the new-look Team Pilipinas as he returns to action against Iran in the FIBA World Cup 2019 qualifiers fifth window on December 3 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
As he serves the last of his three-game suspension in the home match against Kazakstan on November 30, Castro is elated to his national team comeback as national team head coach Yeng Guiao tapped him as a shoo-in to the final line up against the Iranians.
It feels like the first time for the man dubbed as the best point guard in Asia when he was called up to serve the country again as he was reminiscent of his national youth team stint back in 2003.
“Excited parang nung bago akong join sa 2003. Excited ulit makalaro para sa Pilipinas,” he told SPIN.ph after doing extra shooting drills in their Friday’s practice at the Meralco Gym.
From an ugly brawl against Australia last July, Castro has learned from that experience and moved on, putting his focus on helping deliver an important win for the country.
“Hindi naman it happens everywhere kahit saan namang basketball nangyayari yun. Natuto ako at the same time,” he said. “Siguro yung focus ko personally is manalo this next window para malaking chance makaqualify sa FIBA World.”
Castro believed that the Filipino cagers only fell short to Iran, 73-81, in the last two minutes of their September showdown in Tehran that’s why he is ready to share his experience to tha team.
“Nagkahiwalay lang naman nung two minutes na pero the whole game naman nandoon siguro dahil lang sa experience with new system tsaka new players,” the 32-year-old national team mainstay said. “Siguro yung experience ko yun yung macocontribute ko this coming next window versus Iran kasi kailangan yung experience talaga.”
The TNT KaTropa star is grateful to play for Guiao for the first time believing that the system of their new coach would be a great edge in the international level.
“Masaya ako kasi for the first time nandoon ako kay coach Yeng kasi ang tagal ko na siya nakakalaban they always beat us in PBA,” the 5-foot-10 playmaker said. “Yung system niya parang equal opportunity lahat which is sobrang ganda para sa international game at the same time yung the way he coach talagang imomotivate ka niya which is sobrang maganda para sa mga players.”
The 10-year PBA pro is also excited to play along with new players whom he will play for the first time like Arwind Santos, Alex Cabagnot, Christian Standhardinger, Marcio Lassiter, Scottie Thompson, Greg Slaughter, Beau Belga, JP Erram, Paul Lee, Stanley Pringle and Ian Sangalang well as cadets Kai Sotto and Ricci Rivero.
“Sobrang loaded talaga kasi kahit sinong ipasok mo anytime diba. Hindi lang yun kasi malaki at the same time lahat defensive player unlike before lahat tayo nagkukulang sa bigs tsaka sa wing guy na malalaki,” Castro said. “Yung chemistry kailangan lang namin mabuo kaagad which is malaking tulong yung mga tune-up games para yung gusto ni coach Yeng magawa namin kaagad.”