Starstruck rookie Ed Daquioag proves he belongs with long-time idol Jayson Castro
This near steal against his idol Jayson Castro helped rookie Ed Daquioag settle down in Meralco's win over TNT Katropa. Jerome Ascano

ED Daquioag hardly looked like one who’s overwhelmed by the presence of Jason Castro.

The rookie guard led a strong finishing kick that paved the way for a 98-87 Meralco win over TNT Katropa in the PBA Philippine Cup Friday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Daquioag scored 10 of his game-high 23 points in the payoff period as he held his own against the prolific Castro, who he idolized ever since.

In all, he had 18 points in the second half and was 3 of 6 from three-point range, including one against Castro himself.

The Meralco freshman admitted feeling a bit anxious at the start going up against the TnT star, but eventually settled down following one defensive sequence against ‘The Blur.’

“Hindi naman kinakabahan, parang na star-struck lang siguro,” he said after the Bolts notched their second win as against a loss.

“Tapos nung muntik ko siyang ma-stealan, napangiti na lang ako. Sabi ko, ‘uy Jayson Castro ito.’

That made the former University of Santo Tomas stalwart going.

He finished on 8 of 15 shooting overall, added four rebounds, and an assist, while matching his career-best in the pro league which he did just a game back against NLEX.

Coach Norman Black had nothing but praises again for Daquioag.

“He’s a rookie, but he doesn’t play like a rookie,” said Black. “He’s a smart kid to go along with the fact that he’s very talented.

“I’m looking to seeing his development throughout the year as he play more games.”

Incidentally, Castro also finished with 23 points on 9 of 17 shooting, including 3 of 7 from three point range. He added three rebounds and seven assists in a losing cause for the Texters (2-2).

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