SMART CLARK GIGA CITY–With TNT’s bubble season on the line, Jayson Castro proved to be the veteran that he is and played through the risk of worsening his injury.
Despite his nagging calf injury, Castro delivered 21 points, five assists, four rebounds and three steals to help the Tropang Giga outlast the Phoenix Fuel Masters, 102-101, and force a rubber match in their PBA Philippine Cup semifinals on Wednesday night at the AUF Arena.
The win kept alive TNT’s bid to win the historic bubble title along with the celebrated franchise’s hopes to end a five-year championship drought.
“As of now, ‘di ko na talaga iniisip ‘yun (injury) eh. Kailangan lang talaga namin ibigay ‘yung kung kaya naming ibigay,” said the 34-year-old guard, who hurt his calf midway through the eliminations and even rested it for two games.
“Whether 100 percent or 50 percent, basta nasa loob bigay na lang namin ‘yung best namin,” he added.
The Gilas Pilipinas stalwart scattered away all his points in the first three quarters where the Tropang Giga led by as high as 17 before staving off the Fuel Masters’ spirited fightback.
“Kailangang-kailangan talaga namin manalo kasi ‘yun nga our backs are against the wall na. We need to do something na para manalo kami,” he said.
With the crucial Game 4 victory, the six-time champion and five-time Best Player of the Conference said that TNT is all fired up heading to the win-or-go home clash on Friday.
“Confident kami na sa Game 5 magiging maganda ‘yung performance namin kasi nakapag-adjust kami.”