Jayson Castro dished off import-like numbers in a game TNT just refused to lose to secure the Katropa’s return stint to the PBA Finals for the first time in two seasons.
With bulky TNT import Joshua Smith playing through a torn ligament on his right foot, the 5-8 Castro took charge on Saturday, firing 38 points, dishing off 11 assists and grabbing 7 rebounds to eliminate Barangay Ginebra, 122-109, and complete a 3-1 semifinal series win in the process.
The 30-year-old Castro was at his best in the fourth period when he knocked down 10 of his team’s 17 points down the stretch to break the hearts of the Kings and their legion of fans.
More importantly, the win sealed TNT’s entry in the mid-season conference Finals where it is set to face San Miguel Beer starting Wednesday.
The Blur’s awe-inspiring effort earned him the PBA Press Corps Player of the Week for the period of June 13-18, nosing out San Miguel veterans June Mar Fajardo, Alex Cabagnot and Chris Ross for the weekly citation.
The KaTropa are back in the championship round and will try to end a two-year title drought, having won their last PBA crown in the 2015 Commissioner’s Cup behind flamboyant import Ivan Johnson.