PBA: RK Ilagan cherishes matchup vs childhood idol Jayson Castro

PBA: RK Ilagan cherishes matchup with childhood idol Jayson Castro

/ 08:30 PM March 02, 2024

Blackwater RK Ilagan PBA

Blackwater Bossing guard RK Ilagan in the PBA Philippine Cup. –PBA IMAGES

MANILA, Philippines—Iron sharpens iron. That’s seemingly the case between one of the fastest rising guards in the PBA, RK Ilagan, and one of the most prolific point guards in Asia, Jayson Castro.

After Blackwater’s stunning win over TNT, 87-76, in the PBA Philippine Cup at Araneta Coliseum on Saturday, Ilagan couldn’t help but smile from ear to ear.


It’s not just because the Bossing got a rare 2-0 start in the conference or the fact that the shifty guard flirted with a triple-double after dropping 15 points, eight assists, seven rebounds, two steals and a block.


SCHEDULE: 2024 PBA Philippine Cup

Ilagan’s joy was largely due to his showdown with childhood idol and Tropang Giga Jayson Castro.

“I always said this before, when you face TNT, you have to expect Kuya Jayson. I prepared for him two weeks ago. I know we’ll face them today and I really prepared for him by watching his clips and our own clips to see my own lapses,” said the young swingman in Filipino.

“But as you can see, Jayson is Jayson. He’ll score whenever he wants but I’m so blessed because that’s Jayson Castro, all of us idolize him and I’m happy that I got to face him.”

Facing the best

TNT veteran guard Jayson Castro

TNT veteran guard Jayson Castro. –PBA IMAGES

Castro finessed his way to 12 points, missing only four of his eight shots for an efficient 50 percent field goal shooting clip.

But Ilagan was simply the better point guard in the matchup that saw Blackwater notch its best start in the PBA since the 2019 Commissioner’s Cup.

His motivation was as simple as 1-2-3. To be the man, you have to beat the man.


READ: Proud Tondo boy RK Ilagan determined to reach PBA dream

“When you’re facing the best point guards, you have to show that you belong here in the PBA. I really see it as a challenge that when I’m facing Kuya Jayson, I have to play and defend well and fortunately, we got the win.”

It’s not like the Gilas Pilipinas legend was any slack, either. At one point in the game, Castro blew by Ilagan for a silky smooth layup and all the young gun could do was laugh it off.

“Kuya Jayson, ginawa mo na naman sa’kin move mo, tapos ngingiti lang siya (Kuya Jayson did that move on me again, and he just smile at me).”

READ: PBA: Jayson Castro says TNT’s title win over Ginebra hits different

Ilagan, though, made sure to document that Castro has always been giving him tips since the first time they faced off in his rookie year. In the case of the San Sebastian product, maybe it’s not always a bad thing to meet your heroes.

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“He talks to me, he gives me advice, that’s why I feel so blessed because I really feel like he’s helping me improve,” Ilagan said.

TAGS: Blackwater Bossing, Jayson Castro, PBA Philippine Cup, RK Ilagan, TNT Tropang Giga

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