MANILA, Philippines – Jayson Castro is not getting any younger at 33, but before he fully succcumbs to Father Time, he wants to add another PBA title to his collection.
And Castro has a solid chance to accomplish that goal as TNT returned to the finals for the first time in two years after toppling Barangay Ginebra in their PBA Commissioner's Cup semifinals series.
"That's the challenge I have for myself," Castro said in Filipino on the potential of winning his seventh PBA crown. "I'm at the point where I'm nearing the end of my peak and this is the best time to win a championship."
Since capturing their last title in the 2015 Commissioner's Cup and reaching the finals of the 2017 Commissioner's Cup, Castro and TNT have been on a slump.
They never made the semifinals for 4 consecutive conferences and looked like their glory days were already behind them, especially with teams from the San Miguel Corporation alternating for the previous 7 crowns.
But Castro and TNT showed they are far from done by dethroning defending champion Ginebra in 4 games of their best-of-five duel, ending the series with a dominant 103-92 victory on Thursday, August 1.
As usual, Castro was a steady presence with 20 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists – highlighting his performance with a shot clock-beating three-pointer with less than 4 minutes left that served as the proverbial dagger.
"It's been a long time since we last won a championship. The new guys want to prove themselves and bring back TNT to where it was before," Castro said.
Castro, though, admits the road to the Promised Land would not be easy as TNT awaits the winner between San Miguel and Rain or Shine.
"We're very happy because I can't even remember that last time we're in the finals. I hope that this time, we'll be able to win it all because we fell short in our last finals appearance," Castro said.
"But we know both are also top teams in the other series." – Rappler.com
Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.