JAYSON Castro put on his best Houdini impersonation as TNT pulled off an escape act against Rain or Shine, 101-98, to jumpstart its PBA Governors’ Cup campaign on Wednesday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The Gilas star knocked down the game-winning three-pointer with a little under a minute left to cap off 11 unanswered points that erased an eight-point deficit halfway through the payoff period.
Castro also shone on the defensive end with a block on Paul Lee’s potential game-tying triple attempt to help the Tropang Texters preserve the hard-earned result.
The Texters took advantage of an Elasto Painters side that saw coach Yeng Guiao leave import Dior Lowhorn on the bench and hardly make expected timeouts down the stretch.
“It’s good that we were able to survive this tough game,” Texters coach Jong Uichico said. “So that we can have a good start.”
Castro finished with 19 points, 10 assists, six boards, and two blocks while American import Mario Little added 18 points, 11 boards, and three assists. Asian reinforcement Mike Madanly chipped in 17 markers for the Texters, who trailed by as many as 14 points early in the fourth quarter.
The Texters prevailed without injured key players Troy Rosario, Matt Rosser, and Kelly Williams.
Lowhorn paced the E-Painters with 20 points and 10 boards, but curiously rode the bench in the last three minutes, only to be fielded again with two seconds left with the game already decided.
Rain or Shine got a break with 2.5 seconds left when Castro was called for a deliberate foul while trying to stop a Painters fastbreak, but Gabe Norwood missed two free throws that could've brought down a 98-101 deficit.
TNT 101 – Castro 19, Little 18, Madanly 17, Tautuaa 14, De Ocampo 11, Seigle 9, Reyes R. 7, Carey 3, Rosales 3, Ababou 0, Fonacier 0
RAIN OR SHINE 98 – Lowhorn 20, Quinahan 16, Lee 13, Cruz 12, Almazan 11, Ahanmisi 9, Trollano 9, Belga 4, Chan 2, Norwood 2, Ponferada 0
Quarterscores: 31-21, 59-56, 74-85, 101-98