During the tail-end of her collegiate career, Clare Castro was in a dilemma. Ultimately, though, she decided to play out every game for Far Eastern University, missing the 2019 FIBA Women’s Asia Cup and, later on, the Pre-Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
It was tough for her to miss out those campaigns, but her sisters in FEU badly needed her during that time. Still, the 6-foot-4 center made a promise.
“Oo, babalik ako sa Gilas after nito.”
After her stellar FEU career ended with two silvers, Castro did not miss a single practice session for the nationals.
“Mindset ko noon is talagang makatulong sa team at makatulong maabot ‘yung goal.”
To start, Castro — together with Jack Animam, Afril Bernardino, and Janine Pontejos — steered the Philippines to the first-ever 3×3 crown in the Southeast Asian Games.
Then it was time to slay the demons of Gilas past in the 5v5 scene.
Last Wednesday, Castro and the rest of Gilas Women’s ended the team’s misery, winning the tournament for the first time ever.
“Sobrang sarap sa feeling kasi first-ever gold ‘yun sa women’s basketball 3×3 and 5v5,” she said.
“Tapos siyempre dahil sa gold, mas umingay ang women’s basketball.”
After all this, Castro vows that she will never leave Gilas again.
“Focus na talaga ako sa Gilas.”