IT was long time in coming, but certainly worth the wait for Jason Castro.
The diminutive Talk `N Text guard finally got the honor he truly deserved after being named the Best Player of the Conference of the PBA Philippine Cup - the first in Castro's career.
Castro bested four other contenders, including teammate Ranidel de Ocampo and fan favorite Calvin Abueva of Alaska, for the coveted individual plum behind a surge of votes from mediamen, officials, and fellow players.
The 5-foot-11 guard out of Philippine Christian University garnered a total of 1146 points to win the award in runaway fashion from closest pursuer de Ocampo, who tallied 730 points.
Except for statistics which comprised 40 percent of the criteria, `The Blur’ topped the rest of the voting that includes media (482), players (129), and the Commissioner’s Office (150).
Castro was fourth in statistics (385) after Arwind Santos of Petron (456), Abueva (403), and Meralco’s Sol Mercado (394).
Abueva, the only rookie to contend for the award, finished third in the race with 612 points, followed by Santos (520), and Mercado (437).
Talk `N Text’s third overall pick in the 2008 draft has long stayed in the shadows of his more illustrious teammates – former league MVP Jimmy Alapag, De Ocampo, Larry Fonacier, and even Kelly Williams.
But Castro became the team’s top scoring option starting the Philippine Cup under returning PBA coach Norman Black.
Three games into the Finals against Rain or Shine, Castro averaged a team-best 18.6 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 3.6 assists, while shooting 35.9 percent from beyond the arc in 28 minutes of action as the Tropang Texters won all three matches to move on the verge of winning a third straight all-Filipino championship.
“He’s deserving of the award. He’s very consistent, has a very nice attitude and works really hard. Kaya kita naman iyan sa game niya,” said Talk ‘N Text assistant coach Nash Racela, who has seen Castro blossom as a pro since joining the franchise as part of the coaching staff in 2008.