If there’s one person who has seen the sacrifices that Jayson Castro has made for Gilas Pilipinas, it has to be Marc Pingris.
The two have fought side-by-side in numerous international tourneys, including two FIBA Asia Championships, a World Cup, and an Olympic Qualifying Tournament to boot.
So when Castro announced his retirement from international play last week, Pingris fully supported his friend’s decision.
“Karapatan na siguro ni Jayson na mag-retiro,” Pringis said on Monday evening after Gilas’ practice for the 2019 FIBA World Cup.
“Katulad ng sinabi niya na binigay niya yung best niya dati, karapatan din niyang ipasa sa mga bata ngayon.”
Castro was fully at peace when he announced that he will not be part of Gilas’ World Cup campaign. He also believes that the next batch of Filipino guards is fully capable of leading the squad.
Pingris did the same back in 2016 when he passed on the torch of being Gilas’ heart to Calvin Abueva and, later on, Raymond Almazan.
“Malaking bagay sa mga bata ito – yung opportunity na makapaglaro din sila sa Gilas. Kung swapang si Jayson, sasabihin niya, ‘Bakit hindi? Maglalaro ako diyan.’ Gusto niya rin mabigyan ng opportunity yung mga bata na makapaglaro sa Gilas,” the two-time FIBA Asia Cup silver medalist continued.
“So, saludo ako sa kanya.”
Castro’s decision has drawn a mixed bag of reactions, however.
Some fans easily accepted Castro’s retirement, while some opined that it was wrong to do it just weeks before the global meet.
But for Pingris, a true Filipino basketball fan would have no qualms with Castro’s choice to focus on his family and personal aspirations instead of dedicating that time to the national team. A true Gilas fan should celebrate Castro’s service to the country.
“Kitang-kita natin na binigay niya yung one-hundred-percent niya sa Gilas kahit may injury siya,” Pingris recalled.
“Yun lang din, masakit sa atin minsan sa mga Pilipinong sumusuporta. Alam natin na mahal nila yung basketball, but kung nag-desisyon ang isang player, grabe din yung batikos nila. So sana huwag tayong ganun,” he continued.
“Kung ano yung suporta natin sa Gilas at kung sinomang player sa PBA, huwag natin ganunin. I mean mga tao din yung mga player, nasasaktan at napipilayan, tumatanda.”