IT took a few missed games for Jayson Castro to rekindle his love for the game.
Saying the extended break made him miss basketball, Castro was back in deadly form on Friday when he led TNT Katropa’s charge in a 99-92 win over previously unbeaten Blackwater in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The 30-year-old guard still appeared to be rusty as can be gleamed from his 4-of-15 shooting from the field, including 1 of 5 from three-point range. But he remained good enough to finish with 20 points in his first game back with the team after sitting out the Texters’ first two outings of the season.
Castro said the needed rest at the start of the all-Filipino conference helped him rediscover his passion for playing.
“Sobrang excited kanina kasi ang tagal kong hindi humawak ng bola,” said the player twice named as the best point guard in Asia, who played for 26 minutes and had five rebounds and five assists.
“Na-feel ko na-energize ako. Yun naman ang importante, 'yung hahanapin mo yung basketball.”
It was the first time Castro played under new coach Nash Racela, although he said there was hardly any major adjustment on his part.
“Ang tagal na naming magkasama ni coach Nash at alam ko naman ang gusto niya,” he said of the rookie mentor, a longtime deputy of the Texters who took over the coaching chores from Jong Uichico in the offseason.
He said Racela’s equal opportunity principle among the players is bound to work well especially for a talent-laden TNT side.
“Yun naman ang gusto namin, yung even 12th to 13th players magamit,” the native of Bacolor, Pampanga said.