by Jonas Terrado
Jayson Castro on Friday confirmed his decision to skip playing for Gilas Pilipinas in the FIBA World Cup and while hinting at the possibility of retiring from national team duties.
Gilas coach Yeng Guiao earlier in the week bared that Castro wanted to focus on his personal priorities after spending the last seven years representing the country in FIBA-sanctioned tournaments.
“I want to focus muna sa family ko kasi almost seven years ako na non-stop basketball sa Gilas,” Castro said after TNT’s 109-102 win over Columbian in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Cuneta Astrodome.
(“I want to focus on my family because I’ve been playing non-stop basketball for almost seven years.”)
“Sobrang dine-dedicate ko yung sarili ko dun as in yung break ko (sa PBA) nasa Gilas and siguro it’s time to give it to the young guys,” added Castro.
(“I’ve dedicated myself playing for the national team even during the PBA offseason and I think it’s time to give it to the young guys.”)
Asked if he has ready to end his decorated national team career, Castro responded by saying: “Siguro.” (“Maybe.”)
His decision came after tying the knot with long-time partner, the former Lyle Mariano, last Saturday in his home province of Pampanga. The two already has two children.
Spending more time with his wife and kids hold a big importance for the 32-year-old Castro at this stage of his life and career.
Castro made his Gilas debut in 2013 when he led the country to a World Cup berth courtesy of a runner-up finish in the FIBA Asia Championship at the Mall of Asia Arena.
He was also named to the FIBA Asia Mythical Team twice in 2013 and in Gilas’ second straight silver medal in 2015, earning the nickname as “Asia’s Best Point Guard.”
The former Philippine Christian University mainstay also appeared in the 2014 World Cup in Spain and 2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Manila.
He was convinced to unretire from Gilas in 2016 and played in the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup in Lebanon and five of the six windows of the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers.