Even somebody who has spent his whole career with TNT such as Jayson Castro can’t seem to remember the last time that his KaTropa finished a conference’s elimination round as the top seed.
“Actually, ‘di ko na nga rin maalala eh,” said Castro, who started his PBA career with the flagship MVP franchise in 2008 and has won six PBA championships and four BPC awards since.
The last time TNT finished as the top dog was in the 2016 Governors’ Cup. With imports Michael Madanly, Mychal Ammons, and, later on, Mario Little in tow, they amassed a 10-1 record.
It has really been a while. But now, in the 2019 Commissioner’s Cup, the KaTropa have finally done it.
Thanks to Terrence Jones and a commendable showing by the locals, TNT blasted the Magnolia Hotshots, 98-83, to emerge as the number one team heading into the quarterfinals.
Castro — who had 13 points, five assists, three rebounds, three blocks, and a steal — is glad to achieve such feat.
“Magandang opportunity para sa’min to, number one. I think deserve naman namin kasi we play hard,” the 33-year-old guard said, as the KaTropa also finished with a 10-1 record in this conference.
“So hopefully, magtuloy-tuloy yung campaign namin this conference.”
TNT is armed with a twice-to-beat edge in the next round, though their opponent has yet to be determined as the eighth and last quarters spot will be vied for by the Alaska Aces and the Meralco Bolts.
But for Castro, he knows both teams are capable. So the best thing for them, he said, is to remain grounded and treat their quarterfinal match — whoever their foe may be — as a do-or-die game.
“Both teams naman malakas eh. So kailangan lang namin mag-ready talaga. Wag naming isipin na may twice-to-beat advantage kami,” he said.
“Siguro isipin namin na do-or-die game talaga yun.”