AFTER an atrocious outing in Game Three of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup finals, Jayson Castro knew he had to bounce back big time.
And boy he did, as the two-time best point guard of Asia put on a show in the fourth period to steer TNT KaTropa to a series-tying 102-97 win over San Miguel in the best-of-seven series Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Coming off a 10-turnover performance the last time, Castro came back like only he can as he scored 10 points in the final six minutes of the payoff period to anchor the Ka-Tropa’s breakaway from the Beermen.
He capped the telling stretch with an amazing reverse lay-up at the 1:41 mark over the outstretched arms of import Charles Rhodes to give his team a 101-93 lead.
“As a veteran, siyempre alam ko naman na ang sama ng nilaro ko nung Game 3 so nag-apologize ako sa mga teammates ko. Dapat ako yung leader, yung mindset ko nandun. So this game sabi ko sa kanila, babawi ako,” said Castro.
“(Kailangan) maging example din, pakita ko rin na even masama yung game ko kailangan ko pa rin maging confident. Confident naman ako sa mga shots ko, tsaka sa defense ko kaya ko naman umi-stop. Siguro naging maganda lang,” he added.
Castro came off the bench for the first time, allowing him to settle down and survey the court better.
It’s a role that’s totally not new to him as he usually does it under former TNT coach Chot Reyes.
The ploy worked wonders for him as Castro was able to limit his turnovers to just two after that forgettable outing last Sunday.
“Kung maalala niyo ako with coach Chot before, comfortable ako na off the bench ako. Never akong nag-demand na i-start ako, na off the bench ako. As long as makakatulong sa team, willing ako to sacrifice lahat,” Castro said.
“Siguro yun din yung isang dahilan -- na tignan yung first quarter, yung first three minutes, four minutes nung game, tignan yung ginagawa nila defensively. So malaking tulong din,” he added.
But Castro deflected the credit to his teammates as they played calm and composed amid the heated exchanges with the Beermen.
The most important thing now is TNT avoided falling into a deep 1-3 hole in the best-of-seven series.
“Yun yung pinakainiiwasan namin yung 1-3. Na-tie namin yung series so parang best-of-3 na lang.”
“Siguro nagpanalo din samin ung focus namin tsaka yung composure namin. Even na down kami, nandun pa rin kami.”