SEVILLE, SPAIN - Jayson Castro sat next to Gilas Pilipinas teammate Ranidel de Ocampo in one corner of the nearly empty dining area of the team hotel, lost in thought as he finished up a late, late lunch.
But of all the images and memories racing through his mind, he was 100 percent sure of one thing.
He didn't flop.
Seemingly unmindful of two Manila-based journalists who joined him in the table, the 5-10 Castro suddenly livened up when asked about the flopping technical called on him in a crucial stretch of the third period in Gilas' 78-81 loss to Croatia on Saturday.
"Sinuwag nga ako e," Castro, his baritone voice echoing in the near-empty hall, said. "Offensive foul naman talaga 'yon. Kasi ang tangkad n'ya e, so tumilapon ako."
The Talk 'N Text star insisted there was no effort on his part to flop, adding he absorbed the sheer weight of Krunoslav Simon when the 6-foot-5 Croatian guard charged into him.
De Ocampo, who was nearby and had a good vantage point of the contact, said he, too, has no doubt in his mind that the Croatian used his non-dribbling hand to push away Castro.
"Ginanon nga s'ya e," he motioned. "Ang lapit ko lang kaya kita ko. At ang ganda ng depensa namin kaya nga sila nahirapan, di ba?"
Castro added: "Tumumba na ako ng hard, hindi pa tumatawag yung referee. Nung pagtalikod ko, biglang flop daw."
Castro rued that the two technical free throws awarded to Simon - as well as the three-pointer Croatia made in the ensuing possession - cost them dearly since it halted the momentum of a Gilas side that had come charging back from a double-digit deficit to pull within three at that point.
Instead, the Croatians ended the third period ahead, 57-49.
"Sayang, nasa atin na ang momentum non," said the bull-strong dynamo from Guagua, Pampanga. "Nawala pa sa atin."
De Ocampo, however, said Gilas took a lot of positives from the game, which will serve them well ahead of matches against Argentina, Greece, Puerto Rico and Senegal.
"Nakita mo naman dikit na dikit ang laro," said the Gilas forward. "So mataas ang confidence namin ngayon. Sayang nga lang at hindi tayo nanalo.
"Nothing to lose (mentality) naman tayo kanina, so linaro lang namin talaga ang laro namin."