Manila, Philippines – Jayson Castro is steadily getting back his groove and that could only cause big concern for Talk ‘N Text’s opponents.
The Accel-PBA Player of the Week for the period June 18 to 25 helped lead the Tropang Texters into back-to-back wins, stoking their hot streak and bid for a semifinals seat in the PBA Governors Cup.
In that span and against quality opposition in Barako Bull and Barangay Ginebra, the spitfirish playmaker came off the bench to average 20.5 points and 3.5 assists to beat out teammate and fellow reliever Larry Fonacier for the citation.
Not bad for a man who missed TNT’s first four games to recuperate from an ankle surgery he had right after the mid-season Commissioner’s Cup.
“He’s playing without the pain that’s hampered him the last three conferences and it shows,” said Texters coach Chot Reyes of the guard nicknamed “The Blur.”
“Obviously, his return has played a big part in our resurgence,” added Reyes, who also cited the quality minutes chipped in by Ranidel de Ocampo, Fonacier and Japeth Aguilar.
It is clear Castro is the one taking the lead, however.
The No. 3 pick overall in the 2008 draft first lent credence to his coach’s words by scoring a teamhigh 23 points in a cruising 109-89 victory over Barako Bull last Wednesday, making eight of his 13 field tries and going a perfect 4-for-4 from the stripes.
In a 113-111 decision over Ginebra just last Sunday, the former Philippine Christian U and national team standout scattered nine of his 18 points in the fourth period, including four during a critical stage after the Kings had threatened within 108-109.
Those triumphs stretched TNT’s streak to three and jacked its win-loss record to 4-3 for third-running spot, right smack in the middle of the pack moving on to the semis.
The Texters still have to contend with co-favorites B-Meg and Rain or Shine in their last eliminations games and Reyes knows the road ahead for his team remains rocky.
But with Castro becoming the team’s rallying point, there is little doubt TNT’s immediate goal of advancing would be realized.