On Baldwin's prodding, Jayson Castro takes charge and leads by example for Gilas
Jayson Castro has scored an average of 25.5 points in Gilas' last two games. Fiba.com

CHANGSHA, China – As the stakes in the Fiba Asia Championship gets higher, the more Jason Castro is willing to take charge for Gilas Pilipinas.

In yet another show of force, the 29-year-old guard led the way for the national team as it ousted Lebanon, 82-70, in the race for the championship and the lone berth to the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

Castro topscored for Gilas with 25 points including an impressive 5-of-10 shooting from three-point range.

The performance was reminiscent of his brilliant 26-point output in Gilas’ stunning 87-73 victory over reigning champion Iran during the preliminary.

“Sabi kasi ni coach maging aggressive daw ako both on offense and defense kasi ako 'yung magiging example sa mga bago dahil ako ang tinitingnan nila lagi,” said Castro, who is one of only four remnants along with Ranidel De Ocampo, Gabe Norwood, and Marc Pingras, of the Gilas team that finished runner up behind Iran during the 2013 Fiba-Asia edition in Manila.

‘Initially kasi ini-involve ko lahat para ‘yung confidence nila (going to the quarterfinals), nandoon.”

[See One down, two to go for Gilas]

Jason himself showed enough confidence in the game against Lebanon as he scored the first five points of Gilas and finished the first quarter with 12 markers.

The win over Lebanon was the sixth straight for Gilas, which is now just two victories away from earning a return trip to the Olympics since last competing in the Summer Games in 1972.

But Castro, the pride of Guagua, Pampanga, is taking everything with caution.

He said, “One game at a time lang especially ngayon every game is a knockout match.”

Exactly the kind of situation in which Castro thrives.

[See Gilas makes MVP's arduous trip to China worth it; grateful patron rewards team with bonus]

Follow the writer on Twitter: @gerardmos