Jayson Castro saves the day as TNT still struggles with chemistry
MANILA, Philippines—Still dealing with chemistry issues, TNT needed a vintage performance from 35-year-old Jayson Castro to escape with its first victory in the 2021 PBA Governors’ Cup so far.
After getting subdued by NLEX in their conference debut, the Tropang Giga again found themselves in bit of a pinch against Alaska on Friday.
It was Castro who carried Tropang Giga to the 81-77 win,, pouring in 20 points in the second and filling the stat sheets with five rebounds, six assists, three steals, and one block.
TNT head coach Chot Reyes knew that his team still has to get going and that he could rely on Castro to get them out of trouble.
“We need Jayson to play like that,” said Reyes in Filipino Friday at Smart Araneta Coliseum. “At this point in his career he’s already picking his spots, usually playing off the ball, and allowing Mikey [Williams] and Roger [Pogoy] to make plays.”
“But as you saw today both Mikey and Roger were not hitting their shots so Jayson took over.”
Williams and Pogoy were the Tropang Giga’s leading scorers in the Philippine Cup averaging 18.4 and 12.6 points, respectively, but struggled to get their shots against the Aces.
Forced into difficult situations, Williams struggled on a 5-of-13 clip for 12 points while Pogoy was bone-dry for one point on 0-of-8 from the field.
Castro, who averaged 9.5 points in the previous conference, had to take over scoring 10 points apiece in the third and fourth quarters.
Reyes added that the team’s struggles was also due to their lack of practice together and he admitted that it will take a while for them to fully get into rhythm.
“There’s no way to rush these things, we have to continue playing and making great decisions on the court while everyone gets assimilated,” said Reyes. “That’s the situation we find ourselves in. We don’t have to rush it. We have to make do and get to a comfortable level, hopefully, sooner than later.”