Castro recalls finest game in FIBA Asia

Jayson Castro is not looking ahead at the World Cup of basketball in Spain next year. Not yet, anyway.

It may be at the back of his mind, but the daredevil guard of Gilas Pilipinas is focusing on his team's PBA campaign in the Governors' Cup which starts today.

Although the entire Gilas squad, including the coaching staff, deserves credit for the country's successful bid to play in the World Cup, Castro shone brightest in the galaxy of Filipino players during the FIBA Asia Championship campaign.

So it was not surprising that from among several stars, Castro was named to the Mythical Five, a singular honor for the Philippines and a personal achievement for a player who had been through several teams and trials in roller-coaster career.

In nine games, Castro averaged 11.8 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.0 assists to earn a place into the Mythical Five alongside shooting guard Kim Mingoo of Korea, small forward Lin Chih-Chieh of Taiwan, Iran's center and Most Valuable Player Hamed Haddadi and power forward Oshin Sahakian.

His finest hour, Castro said, was during their emotional 86-79 victory over Korea that secured Gilas' entry into next year's FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain.

In that game where center Marcus Douthit rode on the bench with an injured calf muscle in the second half, Castro and Marc Pingris alternately outfoxed and outsmarted their Korean counterparts.

Pingris tallied 16 markers and Castro went on to finish with 17 points.

"Parang feeling ko na ako ang kayang mag-drive all the way, kaya everytime when we get the rebound hinihingi ko bola tsaka nakikita ko na may open sa low block, especially sila (Pingris) at Japeth," said Castro.

He continued his aggressiveness even against Hamed Hadadi and the rest of Iran in the championship game, scoring 18 points in a losing effort.

Castro's performance completed a long road in his career that began with the Philippine Youth team in 2004 followed by his sensational stints with Philippine Christian University in the NCAA, Harbour Centre in the now-defunct Philippine Basketball League and currently with Talk N' Text in the pros.

He also played for the Harbour Centre-backed Philippine team in the 2007 SEA Games in Thailand before suiting up for Singapore Slingers in the National Basketball League in Australia.

Though he's looking forward to the prospect of playing in the World Cup against the best of the best, particularly American stars from the NBA, his main focus for now is to return with Talk N' Text for the season-ending Governors' Cup.

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