IT may have been a wasted opportunity, but injured Gilas Pilipinas guard Jayson Castro said he has decided to give his spot to Jimmy Alapag in the Asian Games team so as not to shortchange the national team.
Castro sat on the bench at the Meralco gym on Saturday night watching the team practice for the first time since pulling off the Philippines’ first victory in the Fiba World Cup in 40 years at the expense of Senegal, 81-79, last week in Seville, Spain.
“So far, okay naman, pero may konting masakit, yung tuhod and then yung Achilles ko,” Castro told Spin.ph, pointing to his injuries in his left leg.
The diminutive playmaker strained his Achilles tendon during Gilas’ 66-75 loss to Euskadi in a tune-up match in San Sebastian, Spain and played through the injury during the World Cup.
The injury got progressively worse during the campaign - and eventually his knee became a problem as he tried to protect his Achilles - and it became bad enough for him to sit out the Senegal match.
Although Castro's name was stricken off the lineup and replaced by Alapag's during the registration meeting on Friday, Gilas coach Chot Reyes had refused to close the door on Castro, saying he is giving himself until the managers' meeting on September 19 to name his final Asiad lineup.
Castro, however, has ruled himself out of the Asiad, saying he doesn't want to suit up at "80 percent" when he knows someone else can play at full throttle for Gilas.
“Napag-usapan namin na sure ng out ako (from the Gilas lineup for the Asian Games),” the Gilas combo guard said with a tone of sadness.
“Iniisip ko din na unfair naman sa ibang players na lalaro ako ng 80 perrcent lang. Eh I want to make sure na ready to play yung papalit sa akin,” he added.
Castro said playing less than 100 percent in the Asian Games would be a disservice to the country in Incheon, where Gilas will be out to win the Philippines' first Asiad gold medal in basketball since 1962.
“Eh ako, kung hindi naman 100 percent, tapos pipilitin ko, sayang lang. Nandiyan naman ang ibang players para mag-step up,” he said.
Come Monday, Castro said he’ll start rehabbing his injuries, hopeful that he could recover in time for the opening of the PBA’s 40th season on October 19, and again, be ready for another call for duty from the national team next year.
“Basta naman para sa bayan ready lang ako,” he added.