The TNT Katropa may have dropped Game 4 of their best-of-seven PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals series against the San Miguel Beermen on Sunday, but it did come with a silver lining.
Terrence Jones and Jayson Castro, the team’s two vital pillars in this conference’s stellar run, were recognized for their individual brilliance in the midseason tourney.
Playing in his first ever tenure as a PBA Import, Jones bested Justin Brownlee and Chris McCullough for the Bobby Parks Best Import of the Conference award. Castro, on the other hand, added another feather in the cap of his illustrious PBA career after claiming his fifth PBA Best Player of the Conference plum.
The last time both awardees came from the same team was back in 2017, when Chris Ross and Charles Rhodes accomplished the feat for San Miguel.
Let’s take a look how these two stars separated themselves from the pack.
Like Thanos, Jones winning BIC was ‘inevitable’
Jones appeared prime to take the BIC award ever since it was announced that he will reinforce TNT this conference. At just 27 years of age, Jones brought legitimate NBA experience and an eagerness to carry the Katropa back to its glory days.
The former Houston Rocket was a problem for opposing defenses every game, as he posted 33.73 points, 16.09 rebounds, 7.73 assists, 1.45 steals, and 3.09 blocks in the eliminations. Jones also ranked in the top three of almost every statistical category and even led the league with a whopping five triple-doubles in the tournament.
Jones proved he is one of the best imports the league has seen in a while. Now, he just needs to get that chip to further solid his claim.
Castro is an all-time great
Unlike Jones who was the clear-cut winner from the get-go, Jayson Castro had to fend off some big names to claim distinction as best local this conference. Spectacular rookies Robert Bolick, CJ Perez, and Bobby Ray Parks Jr. all had amazing performances this conference, while perrennial contender June Mar Fajardo also vied for the award.
It took some for the now 33-year-old “Blur” to get it going, as he only averaged 13.30 points, 6.10 boards, 6.80 assists, and 1.90 steals in the 11-game eliminations. He upped those numbers to 14.7 points and 6.0 assists in the semis and is currently averaging 20.3 points, 7.3 dimes, and 5.3 boards in the Finals.
Garnering his 5th plaque, Castro tied Danny Ildefonso for second most BIC awards in PBA history (behind Fajardo). “The Best Point Guard in Asia” recently retired from Gilas and he will soon be entering the twilight of his storied career in the coming years. But for now, expect “The Blur” to continue setting the standard for playmakers in the league.
(Images from PBA Media Group)