FOLLOWING back-to-back losses to start the season, veteran combo guard Jayson Castro took it upon himself to lead, resulting in TNT’s two straight victories and a Cignal-PBA Press Corps Player of the Week to boot in the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup.
Nicknamed the “Blur”, Castro averaged 16.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, 6.5 assists and 2.5 steals for the period of January 21-27 to lead the resurgent TNT to victories over sister team NLEX and four-time Philippine Cup champion San Miguel Beer.
Castro actually had a rough night versus NLEX last January 23, hitting just 1-of-9 from the floor and turning the ball over five times in over 35 minutes of action.
But the 32-year-old Castro showed why he’s the two-time Best Point Guard in Asia during the critical stage of the final quarter, feeding Roger Pogoy for a three-pointer, before following that up with two pressure-packed free throws to seal TNT’s first victory for the season.
The many-time Gilas Pilipinas combo guard went on to finish with a stats line of nine points, three rebounds, two assists and a steal.
Four days later, the four-time PBA Best Player of the Conference returned with a vengeance, registering all-around numbers of 24 points, 11 assists, five rebounds and four steals as the surging KaTropa knocked down the Beermen, 104-93 in a king-sized upset.
The six-time PBA champion took over in the final quarter, dropping eight points and three key assists that turned a shaky six-point lead into a 104-89 bubble late in the game.
Aside from pulling to an even 2-2 record in the standings, Castro’s leadership enabled TNT to end a long, nine-game losing streak to San Miguel dating back to Game 5 of the 2017 PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals.
Castro beat teammate Troy Rosario and Ryan Reyes, Rain or Shine’s Gabe Norwood and Mark Borboran, along with Phoenix forward Calvin Abueva, Jason Perkins and Matthew Wright for the weekly citation.