A PRE-GAME pep talk from its acknowledged leader helped TnT Katropa's PBA Finals debutants settle down and get their game going.
Jayson Castro's advice for youngsters Roger Pogoy, Troy Rosario, and Moala Tautuaa to savor their first trip to the PBA Finals didn't fall on dear ears as the trio proved to be key factors in a stunning 104-102 win over San Miguel on Wednesday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Pogoy hardly played like a rookie especially down the stretch as he fired 13 of his team-high 27 points in the payoff period. Rosario and Tautuaa, both sophomore big men, combined for 17 points and 11 rebounds in holding their own against San Miguel’s tower of power iJune Mar Fajardo.
All three are suiting up in the championship round for the first time, and Castro was there to guide them.
“Sinabi ko lang na i-enjoy lang nila yung game and then embrace yung pressure kasi siyempre first time kaya may pressure,” said the TnT star player.
“And yung pressure na yun ang sinasabi kong gawin nilang opportunity para yun nga, makapagpakita sila dito sa finals.”
The trio's heads-up play also more than made up for the absence of veteran players Ranidel de Ocampo and Ryan Reyes due to injuries.
At the same time, it also lessened the load on Castro, especially with him struggling on 6-of-17 shooting from the field.
“Dito naman sa team namin, kung sino ang maganda ang game yung ang susuportahan namin,” he added.
Castro finished with 14 points, nine rebounds, and 10 assists. He only had three points in the fourth quarter but it couldn’t have come at the right time as it gave the Texters back the lead, 102-99, after the Beermen tied the count at 99-all behind a 9-1 run in a three-minute span.