IT was a play meant and designed for Jayson Castro. Nothing more, nothing less.
TNT interim coach Sandy Arespacochaga said the team’s final play in regulation was plain and simple, with the ball going to Castro and the 'Blur' taking the last shot for the win or Game 3 of the PBA Philippine Cup Finals going into overtime.
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The veteran guard missed the last-gasp shot this time and it led to an extra period, which the San Miguel Beermen dominated on the way to a 108-100 win.
Arespacochaga had no problem with the missed opportunity, knowing the Tropang Giga put their fate in the hands of the same star player who bailed them out of trouble many times over in the past.
“He (Jayson) missed, but the next time (you’re in the same situation) you’ll do it again,” said Arespacochaga outside the TNT dugout at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“That’s Jayson, he won a lot of games for us.”
The most recent of those won games the 36-year-old Castro clinched for the Tropang Giga was Game 1 of the title series last Sunday when he drained the game-winner at the buzzer, 86-84.
Castro, who finished with 17 points, was exactly in the same situation on Friday night with the score tied at 94 and time down to 11 seconds.
But San Miguel knew where the ball was going, and Jericho Cruz was quick to challenge Castro’s fadeaway jumper that missed the hoop completely at the buzzer.
“They (Beermen) played good defense,” said Arespacochaga, who called the shots for TNT for the second straight game in the absence of head coach Chot Reyes. “But of course, you give Jayson the ball with the opportunity to make a play for the last (shot).”
At the same time, the TNT deputy said it was a no-brainer on who will take charge for the team with the game on the line.
“Of course, that’s the right play to do,” he added. “We felt it’s a very high percentage play and that something good will happen to us.”
Game 4 is set on Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum and the Tropang Giga hoping to regroup and tie the best-of-seven series which they currently trailed, 1-2.
If TNT ever finds itself in the same situation in the succeeding games of the series, Castro will still get the ball for the last shot.
“Like I said, if the same situation happens, you give the ball to Jayson,” stressed Arespacochaga.