As his three-game suspension due to his involvement in the Gilas-Australia brawl last July is about to end, Jayson Castro is in line to be called up by the national team for the upcoming fifth window of the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers.
Castro might be donning the country’s colors yet again on December 3 when the Nationals host tormentors Iran, as his ban ends on November 30 versus Kazakhstan. And once Gilas comes knocking, Castro said he’ll gladly open the door.
“Yeah. Kapag ininvite nila ako, why not, ‘di ba? Yun naman ang ano ko lagi kapag for flag and country,” said the Gilas veteran on Friday night after his TNT KaTropa’s match with the Magnolia Hotshots.
“Available naman ako lagi.”
Castro – who has been with Gilas ever since it helped the Philippines regain glory in the global stage back in 2013 – has been a key player in the Qualifiers’ first round with norms of 14.2 points, 3.4 assists, and 2.4 rebounds.
The 32-year-old’s finest moments in the first round came at the expense of Japan, where he struck the dagger at them twice to win it for Gilas – first in November last year in Tokyo, and the other last February here in Manila.
Castro will be returning to a Gilas team far from the ones he was used to, however. From having Chot Reyes – the one who convinced him to “un-retire” from international ball in 2017 – the team is now being handled by Yeng Guiao.
But Castro is eager to work with his fellow Kapampangan.
“Sobrang masaya ako kung ganon. At the same time hinid pa ako na-under kay coach Yeng. Siyempre , alam ko yung system nya pero hindi pa ako na-under. Excited ako kung ganun,” expressed the 5-foot-10 floor general.
Aside from having a new mentor, Castro will also be working alongside new faces such as NorthPort Batang Pier’s Stanley Pringle; San Miguel Beermen gunslingers Alex Cabagnot and Marcio Lassiter; and young Ginebra star Scottie Thompson.
Though his experience in the international stage is richer than most of his new teammates, Castro – twice Asia’s best point guard – is also looking forward to learning from them.
“Kasi ako naman, willing akong matuto sa kanila kasi yun naman yung thinking ko lagi – may makuha akong mga tips sa kanila. At the same time, ma-share ko rin yung knowledge ko sa basketball sa kanila,” said Castro.
“As a basketball player, masaya ako kung ma-invite ulit.”
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