RANIDEL De Ocampo and Jayson Castro have been playing together for so long they know exactly what the other would do without a word being said.
The longtime teammates did it again on Wednesday night, joining forces to deliver the winning play in TNT Katropa's 122-120 squeaker over GlobalPort in the PBA Governors Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
With the scored tied at 120-all and the game down to its final 20 seconds, Castro drew the GlobalPort defense by faking a drive before rifling a sharp pass to an open De Ocampo, who converted the long jumper that enabled the Texters to survive a late fiery charge by the Batang Pier.
De Ocampo, who finished with 17 points on 7-of-18 shooting from the field and added seven rebounds, later admitted the play wasn’t designed the way they executed it.
But having played together for a long time now, both with TNT and Gilas Pilipinas, the veteran forward said he quickly read what Castro had in mind the moment he started signaling the offense.
“Nakita ko iba na 'yung gusto niyang gawin, so hinayaan ko na lang. Siguro, may naisip siyang iba,” said the 34-year-old big man out of St. Francis of Assisi.
Originally, the play called for a pick and roll play between the two.
But the TNT top point guard decided to alter the offense at the last minute, with De Ocampo exactly anticipating the play and primed himself for a last-minute dish.
“Credit talaga 'yung pasa na yun galing kay Jayson,” said the ever humbled national team veteran from Tanza, Cavite. “Suwerte naman 'yung tira kung two points or three points kasi nakailang tira ako ng three-points hindi siya na-shoot.
“Kung kailan kailangang-kailangan dun pumasok. Sakto yung timing."
Castro finished with a game-high 37 points, four rebounds, and eight assists, the last setting up the basket that enabled the Texters to clinch a seventh win in eight outings to keep the solo lead in the season-ending conference.
Despite delivering the winning basket, De Ocampo said he still doesn’t relish the moniker ‘Hodor,’ which became viral after his game-winning shot, taking off of course from the popular TNT commercial featuring him, Castro, and Larry Fonacier.
“Hindi ko nga alam saan nanggaling yun e. Sino ba naglagay nun doon,” he said with a big laugh, repeating the same exact line he delivered in the hit commercial.
Perhaps RDO will be good enough for him.