It took the TNT Katropa nine games in two years to finally score one over fierce arch-rivals San Miguel Beermen.
And of course, a heroic from veteran point guard Jayson Castro who made sure that skid would be over and done, at last, in the early-goings of the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup.
With the KaTropa being dragged into a blow-by-blow battle against the Beermen, the 32-year old Castro took over, scoring eight crucial points in the dying minutes to lead his squad past the opposition, 104-93 on Sunday night at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
It was TNT’s first win over SMB since escaping with a narrow 102-97 win in Game 4 of the 2017 PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals which it eventually lost.
Castro was all aware of that agony much to the point that he could not remember their last win which had lasted for so long.
“’Di ko na maalala kasi lagi kaming natatalo sa kanila,” admitted the soft-spoken Castro, who pretty much did everything just to tow TNT into this breakthrough win.
He finished with 24 points, five rebounds, 11 assists and four steals in 34 minutes of action to prove that he’s still one of the best guards in the league even against the four-time All Filipino conference champion SMB.
But being the known humble person he is, Castro downplayed this feat, saying that it’s just a huge morale booster for their campaign knowing that they have slain a giant in Beermen.
“Wala namang extra motivation. Siyempre, defending champion ang San Miguel,” the four-time Best Player of the Conference said. “Maganda para sa amin ito at the same time confidence namin, tumaas.
“Mahirap talunin ang defending champion.”
But more than the epic win, Castro was just relieved to finally see the KaTropa figure things out, slowly but surely, as they have now climbed into .500 with a 2-2 record after starting the conference with two straight losses against Ginebra, 79-90 and Phoenix, 84-93.
“Once matalo kami, doon na naman kami sa pinakababa kaya kailangan talagang manalo,” added Castro, also a long-time Gilas member.
“Magandang senyales ito sa amin kasi nakikita na namin yung gusto naming mangyari.”