Jocas Castillo’s return to Philippine basketball will be a very memorable one.
On Tuesday night, the former University of Manila head coach led Makati-FSD to a winning debut in the Chooks-to-Go Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Invitational after beating Marikina, 95-89, at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“After eight years nandun yung excitement saka yung pressure ng konti kasi from college basketball sa Philippines, nandito na ako sa professional basketball so ibang level ng approach sa player,” said Castillo.
Castillo had a decorated career in NAASCU where he led the University of Manila Hawks to back-to-back titles in 2010 and 2011.
However, the seasoned bench tactician never had the chance to complete the team’s three-peat bid as the school decided to disband the team immediately right after the 2011 season.
With the opportunity in the local scene dwindling down, Castillo decided to pack his bags to carve a new path for his career.
He eventually found a home in Vietnam and coached the country’s women’s national basketball team.
Castillo was at the helm during Vietnam’s last appearance in the 29th SEA Games in Malaysia.
Eight years since leaving the Philippines, Castillo finally made his return to coach the Blazers in the first-ever professional season of the MPBL.
And he’s cherishing every single second of it.
“Nandun yung excitement saka yung pressure nandun lagi.”
However, it might be a short homecoming as he is being called up by Vietnam once again for the Hanoi Games in May.