JAYSON Castro is relieved he’ll finally get a shot of playing for Team Pilipinas anew in the FIBA World Cup qualifiers after finally serving out the last of his three-game suspension on Friday night against Kazakhstan.
Coach Yeng Guiao already disclosed Asia’s two-time best point guard will be back in the national team’s official roster in the country’s crucial game against Iran to close out its campaign in the fifth window of the qualifier on Monday.
But Castro said whether he’s in the line-up or not, his support for the team will never waver.
“Kung anuman yung tulong na kaya kong maibigay,” said the soft-spoken guard.
“Kung kailangan nila ng veteran leader sa loob o mag-guide sa mga young guys, kung yun ang magiging role ko it’s ok as long na manalo tayo.”
But even before his suspension was over, Castro already felt grateful to Guiao and his coaching staff, who still included him in the training pool despite the fact he’ll only be available for the game against Iran.
“Siyempre thankful kasi alam naman nila yung sitwasyon ko, pero in-invite pa rin nila ako dito sa pool for the game against Iran,” said Castro.
Guiao stressed it was imperative for the national team to have Castro in the roster as Stanley Pringle would be giving his naturalized player slot for the entry of big man Christian Standhardinger.
“Even if Stanley is not able to play, if Jayson is there I think there’s still enough presence in the point guard that Jayson can provide for us to be able to play a good game on Monday,” said Guiao.
Team Pilipinas found itself in a precarious situation following its 92-88 loss to Kazakhstan, forcing its back against the wall opposite Iran as it tries to remain in the running for one of seven berth reserved for Asia in the FIBA World Cup next year in China.