IT’S rare to hear someone from the corporate world wanting to bury himself in work more than go on a long, deserved vacation.
But it’s not the case in basketball and sports in general.
A perfect example is Jayson Castro, who hopes to avoid an early exit from the PBA Governors’ Cup as Talk ‘N Text battles unpredictable Kia on Friday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
“Hindi ako sanay mag-bakasyon eh,” the Tropang Texters star said.
It’s understandable for Castro to feel that way.
The Tropang Texters afterall, are perennial postseason contenders, but are now in jeopardy of missing their first playoffs in a while following an uncharacteristic string of losses in the season-ending conference.
The last time TNT failed to make the playoffs came in the 2013 edition of the same tournament, where it missed the services of a couple of players, including Castro, for a long period as they recharged following their grueling stint with Gilas Pilipinas in the Fiba Asia Men’s Championship.
But it was a rare occurrence as it was the only time in 16 conferences the Texters missed the cut.
“Hindi kami sanay na wala sa playoffs,” reiterated Castro, whose team is coming off a 105-93 setback against Star last Tuesday, its fifth loss in six games. “Laging target namin at least semifinals.”
But the Texters’ fate is not entirely in their hands.
The flagship franchise of the MVP group, currently outside the magic circle of 8 with a 4-6 win-loss record, is tied for ninth with Ginebra and not only must win against the Carnival, but also hope for other higher-ranked teams to lose.
Tipoff is at 4:15 p.m. in a crucial match that precedes the game between cellar-dwellers NLEX (2-7) and Blackwater (1-8) at 7 p.m.
The Texters, however, are taking the court against a hungry Kia expansion side that’s eager to crash the postseason party after failing to make entry in their first two conferences in the league.
The Carnival, knotted with defending champion Star at seventh spot with a 4-5 slate, seek to recover from a 94-90 loss to Rain or Shine last Wednesday. It was a result that spoiled shot-blocking Senegalese slotman Hamady N’Diaye’s near-triple-double of 31 points, 21 rebounds, and eight blocks as his team folded in the endgame after engaging the Elasto Painters in a tightly fought contest.
“We just got to play forty-eight minutes of pure basketball – defensively and offensively,” N’Diaye said. “We don’t have to rush anything. We don’t have to get out of character. We got to play our basketball.”
“We do things differently and we got to stick to it while we’re in the game from beginning to the end,” he added.