TNT shouldn't solely rely on import, Jayson Castro says

MANILA, Philippines – With or without reinforcement, TNT proved it is a force to reckon with. 

The KaTropa, who played with an all-Filipino lineup after parting ways with Jeremy Tyler, barely needed an import to dispatch the Blackwater Elite, 120-101, on Friday, May 18, to gain a share of the top spot in the PBA Commissioner's Cup.

While an import is a welcome addition to the team, veteran guard Jayson Castro said their success should start with the locals. 

"Last game talaga, masyado kami relaxed. At the same time, 'yun nga, ine-expect namin si Jeremy na mag-contribute. Pero na-realize namin na parang that game, dapat 'di kami umasa sa kanya, dapat nag-i-start sa amin," said Castro. 

(Last game, we were too relaxed. And at the same time, we were expecting Jeremy to contribute. We realized that we should not rely on him too much and it should start with us.) 

Former import Joshua Smith, who helped TNT reach the finals of the mid-season conference last year, will replace Tyler and Castro believes his arrival may have come at the best time as his teammates' confidence continues to soar. 

TNT decided to end its partnership with Tyler, who averaged 12.3 points and 13.3 rebounds in 4 games, after it saw its 3-game winning streak come to an end in a 100-110 loss to the Alaska Aces last May 13. 

Some were expecting the Elite, who have remained winless in 6 games, to finally notch a victory against the import-less KaTropa. However, the exact opposite happened as 7 TNT players finished in double figures in the rout. 

"This game, sabi ko sa kanila na kailangan natin mag-execute lahat dahil alam natin na ang Blackwater, 0-4, 0-5, so i-match natin [ang] effort nila kasi parang 'yung game nila, parang do-or-die sa kanila," said Castro. 

(This game, I told my teammates that we needed to execute because Blackwater is fighting for its life. We needed to match their effoirt because this game was a do-or-die of sorts for them.)

Due to the All-Star Week, the KaTropa will have two weeks to rest and prepare before facing the Columbian Dyip on June 1 at the Mall of Asia Arena. –

Delfin Dioquino

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.