Say it isn’t so.
While veterans Marc Pingris and Ranidel de Ocampo already gave a hint that this was already their last with the Gilas program, Jayson Castro caught everybody by surprise when he unsuspectingly dropped the bomb that could explode given the already volatile situation of the national basketball program.
“Siguro this is my last na,” Castro replied when asked by FOX Sports during an ambush interview with the waiting press outside the Mall of Asia Arena if he will be seen in a Gilas uniform again.
The back-to-back losses to France and New Zealand not only ended their Olympic quest this year, but also brought stinging pain to the back-to-back FIBA Asia Best Point Guard.
Castro, who turned 30 last month, still could serve as the ‘Jimmy Alapag’ of the Gilas team that will go for a shot at the 2019 FIBA World Cup. But he was quick to answer on the negative with regard to his future with the national team.
His frustrations may have overwhelmed him after their promising performance in a ‘feel-good’ loss to world #5 France never materialized in that shocker of a loss to the New Zealand Tall Blacks.
Coming into the game, Gilas was favored by the oddsmakers to win by 9. But it turned out the exact opposite.
“Sobrang sama ng game namin. Hindi namin alam kung anong nangyari eh. Na-outhustle, outplayed, lahat na,” said Castro trying his hardest to find the right (or should be the worst) adjective to their stunning 80-89 loss to New Zealand that eliminated them in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
Castro had 13 points on 5-of-13 shooting that went with 2 rebounds, 3 assists and 1 steal in what could be his last game with Gilas.
Castro is called ‘The Blur’ because his lightning-like quickness blurs the vision of his opponents. But on this Wednesday night, his world slowed down and the vision of the Gilas program got blurry.
As Ryan Reyes, his teammate at Tropang TNT, came in to replace him with 44 seconds left in the game and Gilas staring at a stunning loss, his best moments with Gilas may have flashed in Castro’s mind.
From the moment he came out of nowhere to frustrate Jordan with his blinding speed in his breakout game in the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship to his consecutive silver medal runs with Gilas that came with back-to-back Mythical 5 awards and a trip to the World Cup, Castro had a good run with the national team.
As fast he is on the court, he was also quick to say he’s done with Gilas.
Say it isn’t so, Jayson. — By Alder Almo
Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo