TNT veteran Jayson Castro is optimistic the banged-up Tropang Giga will come out of their failed title defense in the PBA Philippine Cup a lot wiser and hungrier moving forward.
The Tropang Giga bravely battled through pain, injuries or banishment of key players and the absence of coach Chot Reyes but ultimately faded in the final push against the San Miguel Beer juggernaut, 119-97.
“The Blur” said he couldn’t ask for more from his teammates, who soldiered on despite missing Reyes (health protocols), Glenn Khobuntin (MCL) and later Poy Erram (ejected in the second quarter) and even had the upperhand after three quarters, 89-84.
Assistant coach Josh Reyes, who stood in for his boss and father, expressed a similar sentiment.
“We’re missing bodies, we’re missing rotation players that we’re not expecting to be missing. But I thought the guys played their hearts out. Now there’s nothing to do but get ready for the next conference. Hopefully, we’ll get another shot at it,” said the younger Mr. Reyes.
Mr. Castro himself was not 100 percent coming off a right ankle sprain sustained in Game 6 but still produced 32 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists in the decider. He dropped 19 in the third, allowing the Tropang Giga to wipe out an 11-point deficit and enter the payoff canto on top by five. — Olmin Leyba