Jayson Castro feels a Game 7 would have been fatal for TNT – rezal404
Jayson Castro considers TNT’s recent successful run to the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Governors’ Cup title as among the cherished ones of his decorated career.
But even after completing what some consider as an unlikely victory over Barangay Ginebra, Castro feels that the Tropang Giga had a slim chance of turning the tide had the Gin Kings taken the series into a deciding seventh game.
“Our thinking what [Game 6] was already do-or-die for us,” Castro said in Filipino. “Because we felt that if Ginebra won, there’s a strong chance that we won’t be able to win in Game 7 because the momentum will be on their side.
“And then, we have plenty of new players who have not experienced playing a Game 7. So I told them that we should not think that we can afford to lose one game just because we’re up in the series,” added Castro.
Everyone delivered last Friday as TNT carved out a 97-93 win to become only the second team outside of a San Miguel Corp. outfit to rule in the last 16 conferences.
While the climax was best remembered for Mikey Williams’ bank shot from way past the three-point arc that put the Tropang Giga up for good, Castro was among the crucial contributors in the win after answering some of the Gin Kings’ baskets in Ginebra’s fourth quarter uprising.
TNT won the series, 4-2, reversing the ending it had suffered earlier in the season when it lost to San Miguel Beer despite two chances to capture the Philippine Cup.
“It was actually one of our motivations,” said Castro, who in that Game 7 almost carried TNT to a come-from-behind win before going down with an injury in the fourth quarter. “Every time we remember that series, we remember how we missed our opportunity to close it out.”
Bragging rights will also be with TNT for the next few months with the PBA in the early process of a long offseason due to the country’s hosting of the Fiba (International Basketball Federation) World Cup.
Anchored by import Rondae Hollis-Jefferson since the midway in the eliminations, the Tropang Giga almost cruised to the championship despite overcoming injuries of Kelly Williams before his return and the losses of Justin Chua and RR Pogoy at different stages in the Finals.
“We deserve to win because we worked hard for it,” Castro said. “We had a lot of adversities from training camp, to the injuries. But we kept fighting.”
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