On Monday, it will be 153 days since the brawl between Gilas Pilipinas and the Australia Boomers. And for two players for the team, it will be their chance to redeem themselves.
After serving a three-game suspension, Jayson Castro and Troy Rosario are set to make their Gilas return.
For them, Gilas’ final home game for the 2019 FIBA World Cup Qualifiers will be their chance to show everyone how sorry they are for what transpired at the Philippine Arena last July.
“Excited ako i-redeem yung sarili ko after nung nangyari nung third window,” shared 26-year-old Troy Rosario.
“Same pa rin, yung past naging lesson sa’kin yun. And at the same time excited ako ulit makalaro para sa national team, [at] makapag-provide ng leadership,” added Castro, who is one of the team’s eldest statesman at 32.
“As one of the veterans, yun nga, kulang nila is guidance.”
While they served their suspension, Gilas’s record has been 1-2 in Group F – dropping to a tie with Japan. Though the Philippines holds the tiebreaker advantage over Japan, both Rosario and Castro are looking to control what the team has control of.
“This time yung focus namin against Iran… After nung game sa Kazakhstan, sinabi ni coach Yeng na we still have a chance para maging number two, as long as na matalo natin yung Iran,” disclosed Castro, who is averaging 14.2 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 3.4 assists in the continental tourney.
“Marami rin kaming lesson na nakuha sa Kazakhstan, and sana ma-apply namin yung mga yun against Iran.”
“Time to bounce back after nung loss nung Kazakhstan. Sana makuha natin yung panalo,” added Rosario, who has norms of 4.8 points and 2.5 boards.
This time around, though, head coach Chot Reyes won’t be manning the sidelines for Gilas, since Yeng Guiao has been tapped as the permanent mentor of the national team. And based on their fluid practice held at the SM Mall of Asia Arena on Sunday evening, it seems that the two stalwarts have integrated themselves well.
“Same lang. Yung laro ko, ganun pa rin yung laro ko sa PBA at sa international,” said Rosario.
“Hindi ko naman binabago yung laro ko.”
“Same lang nung dati. One of the veterans na ako dito sa Gilas, [so] very important game pero parang natural game lang. Ayoko rin maging excited na excited ako na mawawala ako sa rhythm o mawala ka sa focus,” vowed Castro.
“Parang kagaya lang ng dati.”
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