Castro impressive in Gilas return despite ankle injury

Jayson Castro played through pain to give Iran a tough time. Rick Johnsen Dela Cruz
By Ivan Saldajeno

PASAY--Jayson Castro admitted to reporters on Monday night that he played through an ankle injury in Gilas Pilipinas' FIBA World Cup Qualifiers battle against Iran at the Mall of Asia Arena.

"Sprained 'yung ankle ko middle of second then 'yung fourth quarter. Part ng game 'yun, ganun talaga so kailangan i-laro pa rin. At saka 'yun nga alam naman natin kung paano ka-importante 'yung game na 'to," said Castro.

Castro took over for Gilas in the second half, making 15 of the team's 31 total points in the final 20 minutes.

"Siyempre hindi naman excuse 'yung na-injured ka and then di ka na lalaro so talagang pinilit ko para makatulong sa team," continued the TNT spitfire guard, who finished with 19 markers.

However, his gallant effort turned out to be not enough as Gilas blew an eight-point fourth quarter lead and bowed to Iran.

[Related Story: Iran pulls huge comeback to stun Gilas anew]

"Lahat naman ginawa namin. Ibinigay namin best namin. Unfortunately, natalo. Pero kung makikita nyo 'yung buong game, control natin. Yung last less than one minute, may mga mistake pa ring nagawa, and at the same time may tough shot silang na-made so ganun talaga," rued Castro, whose team was outscored by Iran, 26-10, in the final eight minutes.

He added that he would rather win despite an average stat line than losing despite relatively impressive numbers.

"Sana naging OK na lang and then nanalo, di ba? Mas gusto ko pa 'yun," quipped Castro, who made eight of 14 field goals along with five rebounds, two assists, and one steal.

Now with his team's back against the wall in terms of its shot to make the FIBA World Cup, Castro remains hopeful that Gilas will eventually make the cut.

"Confident naman ako. Sa last game, alam kong kaya natin manalo," he further said.

But for him, all the team needs is better preparation.

"Kailangan natin medyo magandang preparation--mas mahaba. Kasi new system, kailangan ng bagong, mahabang preparation para 'yung offense and defense namin mas organized," Castro quipped.

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