AFTER a 42-point explosion against Phoenix in the quarterfinals, Jayson Castro was a marked man when TnT Katropa squared off with Meralco Bolts on Tuesday to open their PBA Governors' Cup semifinal series.
The Bolts succeeded for a while, giving Castro fits in the first 24 minutes of action and limiting the TnT star to five points on a horrendous 1-of-11 shooting from the field.
Castro, however, stopped forcing his shots and turned facilitator. And it did wonders for TnT, which shifted to high gear in the third quarter on the way to a blowout 113-95 win at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
He finished with only 14 points, a far cry from his outburst last week, but had nine assists, four rebounds and three steals.
"Fino-force ko yung mga shots ko nung una," said Castro moments after the match. "Maganda game plan nila sa'kin. Na-realize ko nung second half kailangan ko mag-adjust kasi naka-focus ang defense sa akin so kailangan ko i-involve mga teammates ko, which is naging maganda naman."
TnT head coach Jong Uichico lauded Castro's transformation into an all-around player.
"Jayson has been our pillar. It’s hard to have a winning team if you don’t have a good point guard and we have a good one," he said of Castro.
"He was known as a scoring point guard before, but he’s developed his game in both facets of the game where he can score and, at the same time, get his teammates involved, so it’s really important to the team."
[See Easy does it for TNT]
Despite the one-sided victory, Castro remains wary of the Bolts, who he expects to come back stronger when Game Two of the best-of-five series is played on Thursday.
"More on defense siguro magiging labanan next game. Kailangan namin talaga mag-prepare on defense," he said.