CHRIS Newsome insisted his and Meralco’s defense frustrated not just Jayson Castro, but the entire TNT Katropa side in their Game Four win on Monday night that clinched their PBA Governors’ Cup semifinal series.
The Bolts rookie sensation drew two flagrant fouls from the TNT superstar, the second one that proved crucial as it led to the ejection of Castro from the game.
“I definitely feel like our team defense kind of frustrated them as a whole,” Newsome said. “We had a pretty big game plan as far as trying to take away their three-point shots because we know they’re a really dangerous team from beyond the arc, so a lot of it was me putting pressure on Jayson in trying to force him to take the tough shot. I feel like I was able to have him take a lot of tough shots.”
“As far as my job on Jayson, I feel like I accomplished that by bringing his percentages down a little bit,” he added. “Also, we put a lot of pressure on the other guys to try to make plays also, not just Jayson.”
Castro scored a team-high 25 points, but had to take 25 attempts to reach his total, making just nine, and committing five turnovers, although he had eight boards and six assists in 32 minutes.
Newsome shrugged off the second flagrant foul – off a Castro elbow while he was about to attempt a jumper that left the Filipino-American playmaker with a busted lip, but he wasn’t sure if it merited the call.
“It’s playoff basketball,” Newsome said. “I’m probably going to get stitched up right now and just get ready for the finals. I’m not necessarily sure (if it was a flagrant) because it happened so fast. I didn’t really get to see the replay. I was just dizzy and on the floor with blood coming out of my lips.”
“But either way, the refs called it what it is and I’m sure they looked it over,” he added. “I trust their judgment as far as plays like that.”
Newsome simply relished the opportunity of getting the unenviable task to shadow Asia’s best point guard.
“It’s definitely the biggest challenge I’ve ever encountered,” the former Ateneo standout said. “I’ve watched Jayson throughout his career and I’ve seen him come up with big games, play for Gilas, and just watching him out there and seeing how he works, he’s one of a kind and for me to be able to get the opportunity to guard him, it’s just a blessing for me to match up against him and to gain a lot of experience by guarding him.
“I feel like it was a great challenge for me to see where I match up as far as point guards in this league,” he added. “And I thank coach Norman (Black) and the staff for giving me the opportunity and putting a lot of faith and respect into my game in order for me to accomplish the task.”