Castro earns scribes’ nod anew

TNT super guard Jayson Castro was the undisputed choice for the Cignal Play-Philippine Basketball Association Press Corps Player of the Week for the period 10 to 14 August.

It was the second straight citation by the Press Corps of the 36-year-old Castro’s exploits as he piloted the Tropang Giga to their third straight Philippine Cup finals stint.

Castro saved his best for last, clicking from all cylinders for 26 points on an impressive 10-of-13 field goal shooting on top of three rebounds, two assists, and a steal as TNT finished off Magnolia in Game 6 of the best-of-seven semifinals, 87-74, to advance.

What made it extra-special was Castro only played 28 minutes in coming up with impressive numbers.

In three games overall last week, the Pampanga pride put on a clinic behind averages of 17.7 points — on 73 percent clip including 40 percent from downtown — 3.7 assists and 3.3 rebounds to become the unanimous choice as the final recipient of the weekly citation for this conference.

Humble as always, Castro deflected the credit to Magnolia’s defense being centered on TNT gunner Mikey Williams as the factor on his timely eruption.

“If you look at their defense, it almost prevents Mikey Wlliams from getting the ball. So as a veteran, I had to step up,” Castro said.

A triple by Castro inside the last three minutes of play pretty much settled the issue with the Hotshots, 80-72.

“Almost everything is entered on Mikey so I had to help on both ends. At the same time, as a point guard, I have to set up our offensive patterns.”

In Game 3, Castro drained the game-winning triple to give TNT a crucial 2-1 lead, but put out an even better showing as the Tropang Giga won two of the next three games to barge into the championship series against either Meralco or San Miguel Beer.

Prior to his stellar Game 6 outing, Castro had nine markers and four assists in TNT’s 102-84 Game 4 win to take a commanding 3-1 lead, before unloading 18 points, six boards, and five assists in a close 105-97 Game 5 loss.

Now, he has his sights locked on the ultimate prize.

“As a player, I have been with this team the last 14 to 15 years and my mentality is to win another championship and leave behind a legacy for the younger players.”

Also nominated for the weekly plum being handed out by the men and women regularly covering the PBA beat were Castro’s TNT teammates Poy Erram and RR Pogoy, as well as Meralco’s Chris Newsome, Cliff Hodge, Allein Maliksi and Raymond Almazan.

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