Castro takes charge in final seconds to save Gilas
If Jayson Castro is to be believed, veterans should be able to step up in pressure situations and execute the big time plays.
The two-time recipient of the Best Point Guard in Asia award said his stature as one of the Philippines’ veterans in the Fiba World Cup Qualifiers entails the responsibility of hitting the clutch baskets for Gilas.
And he did just that.
Castro sank the final field goal of the game in the Philippines’ 89-84 escape against Japan Sunday at Mall of Asia Arena.
“As a veteran, in those types of situations, you have to take it upon yourself to execute the plays that your team needs the most,” said Castro in Filipino. “When that moment comes, and you’re the veteran, you have to take it.”
The Philippines held a comfortable 81-68 lead at the 5:54 mark of the fourth quarter, but Akatsuki 5 slowly trimmed away at the deficit and Daiki Tanaka capped off Japan’s 16-5 run with a layup that made it, 86-84, with 31 seconds remaining.
That, however, was Akatsuki 5’s last glimmer of hope as Castro eventually worked his magic.
Castro had June Mar Fajardo, Andray Blatche, Gabe Norwood, and Kiefer Ravena on the floor with him when he took dagger that he drove through Japan’s collective heart.
“I’m the veteran there on the floor and it’s my responsibility to bring us to the victory,” said Castro who finished with eight points and three assists in 15 minutes of play.
In front of Castro was Japan’s captain Ryusei Shinoyama. He then drove hard to his right and threw up a looper that not even the athletic Ira Brown could reach before it hit the glass with the softest of kisses for an 88-84 Gilas lead with 10.6 seconds left.
“I knew I had the advantage on that match up,” said Castro who has represented the Philippines since 2007. “Miss or make, that was the only shot we’ve got, luckily, it went in.”
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