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More than dishing and swishing, Castro becoming the leader Talk ‘N Text needs



The departure of Jimmy Alapag from the Talk ‘N Text franchise left a huge void for the Tropang Texters, not only in scoring or playmaking, but also leading and elevating a team to a different plane.Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times More than dishing and swishing, Castro becoming the leader Talk 'N Text needs

Alapag, one of the best players to ever suit up in the PBA, was a scorer and facilitator on the floor for the franchise. Outside of the obvious, he was also motivator and leader for the Tropang Texters.

As it turned out, Talk ‘N Text did not need to look far for an answer, as it was the last of the team’s problems.

Talk ‘N Text drafted Jayson Castro in 2008, and immediately took him under the wings of Alapag. It was not long before he was groomed to be the next leader of the squad.

The maturity and ability to take charge in big games that people were expecting from Castro went on full display in the series against the Purefoods Star Hotshots, as the backcourt player would prove to be no match for the opposing side.

“Maganda yung execution namin and yung mga play ay napupunta sa akin. This game (against Purefoods), it was more of a team. Yung last minutes ng ball game, sakto lang na ako ang pinapag-create. Pero para matalo ang Rain or Shine, we have to play as team especially our bigs,” Castro said after the Tropang Texters scored a 79-66 win Saturday to eliminate the Star Hotshots.

Castro was simply on a different plane. He was too fast and too strong. On top of the physical aspects, his basketball mind seemed to run at a staggering rate. He entered a different dimension during Game 4, knocking shots and leaving everyone biting the dust. It didn’t matter who defended him, whether it was Denzel Bowles, Marc Pingris, James Yap, or Joe Devance. He would use his explosiveness to beat them off the dribble, or dance around before surprising everyone with a pull-up from the outside.

Talk ‘N Text complemented Castro with floor-spacers, and it became too difficult for Purefoods to counter.Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times More than dishing and swishing, Castro becoming the leader Talk 'N Text needs

“Binabasa ko lang ang mga sitwasyon. As a guard, kailangan mong basahin ang weakness ng kabilang team. Iniisip ko lang kung ano ang weakness nila at nagke-create ako dahil nag-i-stretch rin naman ang shooters namin,” Castro added.

Castro has embodied the leadership Alapag has shown for several years, and as the player now holding the torch, Castro says he tries to keep learning something new.

“Lagi niya akong minomotivate. Every practice lagi kami nag-uusap about sa game. Tinuturan niya ako paano maging leader. Siya yung mentor ko since rookie year ko. Hindi lang puro basketball, even in personal life tinutulungan niya ako. Kita niyo naman yung career niya, very successful siya,” he said.

Castro averaged 25 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 6 APG, 2 SPG on 56 percent three-point shooting and 54 percent overall from the field in four games in the semifinals, enough to lift the Tropang Texters to the championship round.

But more than all the dishing and all the swishing, Castro is becoming the leader the Tropang Texters can lean on today and in the future.

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