ANTIPOLO – Jayson Castro consoled young guard RK Ilagan for missing two pressure-packed free throws in the waning seconds that cost Converge a victory over defending PBA Philippine Cup champion TNT on Sunday at the Ynares Center.
Although on the opposite side of the fence, the veteran TNT playmaker went over to Ilagan at the end of the Tropang Giga’s 86-83 escape act and gave his Converge counterpart some words of wisdom.
“Sabi ko sa kanya, ‘OK lang yun’ part of the process.' Para next time na mag-free throw ka, yun ang magiging inspiration mo,” said Castro when asked what he told Ilagan after the game.
“Tsaka huwag na huwag kang mawawalan ng kumpiyansa, kasi ang ganda ng kumpiyansa nung bata.”
[See Castro bails out TNT in thriller vs Converge]
The sophomore Converge guard was put under pressure cooker when he was sent to the line with 9.3 seconds to go and the FiberXers ahead, 83-82.
But just moments after putting his team on top, Ilagan couldn’t complete the job this time, twice shooting the ball too strong to muff both free throws.
That small window of opportunity was enough for Castro to go for a coast-to-coast drive and challenge Ilagan’s defense by scoring on a looping shot that allowed TNT to regain the upperhand, 84-83.
It didn’t help the FiberXers any that they committed a turnover in their inbound in an unexpected turn of events that cost them the game.
But Castro said such moments are the kind of experience that will make Ilagan an even better player.
“Doon siya maggo-grow. For me, hindi naman mistake yun, e. Learning process yun,” said Castro, 35. “As a veteran nagawa ko rin yung mga mistakes na ganun at doon ako natuto.”
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