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Guiao bracing for possible Castro-less Gilas in FIBA worlds

Have we possibly seen the last of Jayson Castro in a Gilas jersey? Rick Dela Cruz (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—Gilas Pilipinas Men have just returned to practice this week albeit in a two-per-week schedule due to the players and even Coach Yeng Guiao's commitments in the PBA Commissioner's Cup.

However, a glaring absence in the two practices the team had was Jayson Castro.

The TNT point guard, tagged as the best player of his position in the continent, was not in attendance in both training sessions, effectively putting uncertainties on whether he will don the national team colors again or not.

"Meron din kasi siyang mga personal priorities," said Guiao, who bared that Castro asked him to beg off from practice.

However, Guiao remained mum when asked if included in Castro's personal priorities was his recent wedding to his wife Lyle and even said that Castro himself "is the only guy na pwedeng sumagot noon."

"Ayoko namang ako'ng sumagot doon sa personal issues niya," Guiao added.

Jayson and Lyle finally tied the knot after a bunch of postponements owing to his Gilas duties.

"That's part of the sacrifice that all these guys have to make. Individually, everybody's making that sacrifice," Guiao continued.

If Castro is indeed begging off from Gilas ahead of the FIBA World Cup, it could be a well-deserved break.

"Ang tagal na talaga siyang nagsisilbi sa national team. I don't think we can say anything against him thinking about taking a break," Guiao said of Castro, who has been playing national team basketball since his days in the defunct Philippine Basketball League.

While Guiao admitted that Castro will be a great loss if he decides to take a break, he added that it will open up an opportunity for the other star point guards to shine in the international level.

"Malalim yung talent pool natin. It's also a time sa mga next generation na mabigyan ng pagkakataon," Guiao further said.

Among those who could take over Castro's spot is Guiao's stalwart at NLEX, Kiefer Ravena, who will become cleared for practice in any level by Monday.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno