JAYSON Castro has always been the ultimate closer in his decorated career, be it for TNT Tropang Giga in the PBA or Gilas Pilipinas in international play.
The veteran guard reminded everyone that he still can at age 36 in the ongoing PBA Philippine Cup semifinals between the top-seeded Tropang Giga and the Magnolia Hotshots.
With TNT on the brink of a Game 3 loss and a 1-2 series deficit, Castro took matters into his own hands and sank a game-winning trey in the waning seconds in a 93-92 thriller before a huge Sunday crowd at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Castro’s game-winner came off a blitz as the Tropang Giga no longer had a timeout and had to dribble his way from a full-court inbound after Mark Barroca’s own clutch basket gave the Hotshots a two-point lead.
The daring act by ‘The Blur’ earned him a Cignal Play-PBA Press Corps Player of the Week award midway through the Final Four.
In the first three games of the semis, Castro averaged 15.0 points behind a 47-percent three-point clip (7/15), laced by 5.3 assists and 5.0 rebounds for an all-around campaign.
That’s on top of his unparalleled leadership role for the reigning Philippine Cup champion, which seized a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.
“For me, either shoot or miss ‘yun, good shot pa rin para sa akin. ‘Yun ‘yung binigay ng defense. As a veteran, kailangan ko itira ‘yun. At the same time, kailangan na kailangan naming manalo ng Game Three,” said Castro.
The veteran playmaker finished with 16 points, two rebounds, and six assists in the Game 3 win.
He had 12 markers, five rebounds and five assists in TNT’s 108-96 Game 1 win, before putting up 17 points, eight boards, and five dimes in their close 92-88 Game 2 defeat.
Castro, a seven-time champion and two-time Finals MVP, bested his teammate Mikey Williams as well as San Miguel’s CJ Perez and June Mar Fajardo for the weekly honor handed out by the men and women regularly covering the PBA beat.
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