Jayson Castro says mighty SMB suddenly became vulnerable with top snipers firing blanks
Jayson Castro led TNT with 10 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds. Jaime Campos

JAYSON Castro was relieved TNT Katropa didn’t have to pick its poison as San Miguel Beer’s snipers were off target in Game Two of their PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series on Friday night.

While they still couldn’t find an answer to June Mar Fajardo, who flirted with a triple-double with 25 points, 11 boards, and seven blocks, the Texters managed to neutralize SMB’s other strength: its outside shooting.

As a team, the Beermen went just 7-of-26 shots from beyond the arc for a paltry 27 percent.

Arwind Santos missed all but one of his nine three-point attempts, while Marcio Lassiter also made just one of his six three-point tries as only Alex Cabagnot was on target with five treys.

“Medyo swerte kami hindi pumapasok yung outside shots nila,” Castro said after the Texters held on to an 87-85 win. “At the same time, na-contain namin yung ibang player like Lassiter, Arwind. Sana next game ulit.”

Despite their snipers’ off night, the Beermen still gave themselves a chance to win before the Texters prevented Cabagnot and Santos from getting a shot at an overtime-sending or game-winning shot.

“At least yung confidence namin, nandun na ulit, kasi yun lang yung gusto namin: maka-isa (sa series),” Castro said. “Then let’s see, kasi alam naman natin na ang San Miguel, sobrang lakas na team tsaka kumpleto sila, so para talunin sila, kailangan namin yung isa’t-isa.”

[See Arwind Santos unfazed by rare SMB loss: 'Minsan kailangan din naming mabigo']

Texters coach Nash Racela lauded his team in the post-game pressconference for being “locked in” from start to finish.

Castro orchestrated his team with aplomb as he dished out 11 assists and also flirted with a triple-double with 10 points and seven boards in 29 minutes in a rare start this conference.

“Kinausap lang kami na yung focus namin, buong game nandun,” Castro said. “Hindi pwede first quarter, second quarter, then third quarter nawawala kami. Yung mistake namin, dapat pili lang, kasi once na tuloy-tuloy yung mistake mo, talagang tatambakan ka ng San Miguel eh.”


Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos