In Gilas Pilipinas’ first two lopsided victories in the 2017 SEABA Championship for Men, Jayson Castro’s statlines on every sheet were quite a sight. Not because he produced high amount of points, but because it was the opposite.
In their match against Myanmar on opening day, the 30-year-old scored just two points despite playing 12 minutes. And in their outing versus Singapore, where he logged in 16:27 minutes, Castro was held scoreless.
But that all changed come Sunday night, when they faced another young team in Malaysia. As expected, the Nationals fully outclassed their counterparts with a 106-51 victory, and they stretched their streak to three.
And in the 55-point romping, Castro was among those who helped orchestrate the balanced attack.
The TNT Katropa star finally made his presence felt for Gilas, becoming one of the six double-digit scorers as he finished with 10 markers on 4-of-5 shooting, alongside four rebounds, three assists, and two steals.
With those numbers, it was safe to say that he had finally broken out from his previous sub-par showings. But in reality, it was not actually a slump — Castro hadn’t been aiming to score at all in the first two games; he was more concerned with facilitating for the team.
“‘Di ko naman hinanap yung scoring ko sa first and second game namin, kasi yun nga, ini-involve ko yung mga teammate ko,” said the five-foot-ten point guard after the match.
“At the same time pinapakiramdaman ko rin.”
But aside from exercising his role as the team’s primary floor general, Castro is also fulfilling another role that does not apply within the four sides of the court — he is a mentor to the younger Gilas wards.
And it is a task that he, as a veteran, is relishing.
“Kasi nung 2015, ‘di pa rin ako yung pinakamatanda. Ngayon talagang ako na yung one of the veterans.
“Kailangan kong i-guide talaga. At the same time, turuan kung ano pang dapat ituro sa kanila,” said Castro.
After Sunday’s game, Gilas will now head to a day-long break tomorrow, before trying to extend their streak to four against another contender in Thailand. And Gilas will utilize the layoff to improve a few things, according to Castro.
“Marami,” the two-time FIBA-Asia Cup silver medalist shared. “Marami pa kaming ‘di nakikita eh, na dapat magawa namin. Siguro more on ball movement pa. At the same time, yun nga sa defense talaga. Medyo nalilito pa kami.
“Pero given naman kasi, ngayon lang kami nagkasama sama.”