Sensational Castro comes through when TNT needed him most
The Blur saved his best performance for last in the semifinals, dropping 38 points. seven rebounds, and 11 assists as TNT closed out the Gin Kings to make the PBA Finals for the first time in two years.
For three games in the 2017 PBA Commissioner's Cup semifinals, it appeared that top-seeded Brgy. Ginebra had Jayson Castro figured out.
Despite being down 1-2, the Gin Kings held the reigning two-time best point guard in Asia to an awful 7.7 points on a combined 9-of-32 field goals, and 2-out-14 from three-point range. Ginebra also limited the Blur to 5.7 assists per outing.
However, the 29-year-old Castro saved his best performance for last in the semifinals, dropping 38 points. seven rebounds, and 11 assists as TNT closed out the Gin Kings to make the PBA Finals for the first time in two years.
"Kung mapapansin niyo sa series, for three games sobrang tight ng defense nila," Castro said of Ginebra.
"So going into Game 4, parang yung mindset ko is to be aggressive na lang. Sabi ko sa sarili ko, this is a do-or-die game, kapag umabot pa ng Game 5, parang lalo kami mada-down. So we needed to win," he added.
The Blur was particularly aggressive right from the opening tip, scoring 13 points in the first quarter alone.
Fouls kept him limited in the second quarter but he came out firing by the time the third period went down, dropping 11 points to help TNT build a double-digit lead.
But when the Gin Kings recovered to take a slim lead with about seven minutes to go, Castro anchored TNT's 19-1 closing run to complete the third-best scoring performance of his career, an explosion that head coach Nash Racela predicted after Game 1 of this series.
"I was telling you after Game 1, you expect Jayson to explode," Racela said.
"We didn't get that in Game 2 and 3 but today, he did. Before the game we told him that he has to be aggressive for us to at least have a chance against Ginebra," he added.
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