Jayson Castro beats buzzer as TNT escapes San Miguel in Game 1

He may be past his prime but Jayson Castro still has the nerves to deliver when it mattered the most for TNT.

Jayson Castro nails the buzzer-beating jumper (PBA Images)

The ever dependable guard played the hero's role and drilled a huge jumper in the nick of time to save the defending champion some blushes and escape San Miguel Beer, 86-84, in Game 1 of their best-of-seven 2022 PBA Philippine Cup Finals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Sunday, Aug. 21.

The series was as good as advertised as the curtain raiser boiled down to the final 1.6 seconds of the game to which Castro used to his full advantage, releasing the ball from his hands right at the buzzer and nailing it despite the tough challenge from Simon Enciso to break an 84-all deadlock and give TNT the first point of the series.

The entire 8,548 fans in attendance were at the edge of their seats and collectively held their breath during a long, anxious lull as they waited for the final announcement of the coliseum announcer which at the end favored the people clad in yellow inside the Big Dome.

Castro made up for his poor shooting from the foul line by nailing the biggest basket of night to finish with 15 points. His heroics also saved the stellar performance from Mikey Williams and RR Pogoy who spearheaded a torrid third quarter shooting from the Tropang Giga.

Pogoy finished with 26 points, 10 of those he dropped in the third while Williams added 21, 12 of which also came in the same stretch that saw TNT overpower SMB 33-15 to erase a 12-point deficit, 53-41.

“There were really two options there. There were some misdirections. There were two options but the key was No. 1 you got to get open and No. 2 you know that with 1.6 seconds, you have one more dribble. I think this is something we practice all the time with our practices so all our players know that,” said head coach Chot Reyes recalling he drew up for the final play for TNT.

“In the end, it’s great that Jayson made the shot but the better thing is we gave ourselves a chance and we gave ourselves a crack at it and the key was the stop we made in the previous possession,” he added.

The Beermen actually had the chance to create some separation in the final 28 seconds of the game but they came up dry on their execution as CJ Perez air-balled his three-point try which resulted in a 24-second shot clock violation.

June Mar Fajardo paced the SMB with a double-double of 24 points and 16 rebounds while Perez had 21 points across his name. No other Beerman however managed to break into the double-digit in scoring with Vic Manuel coming up as the third leading scorer with only nine.