MANILA, Philippines—A sprained right ankle was not about to stop Jayson Castro from playing for the Philippines in their crucial game against Iran in the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.
Castro revealed after the Philippines’ 78-70 loss to Iran that he suffered a sprain to his right ankle in the second quarter, but did not want to sit out the rest of the game.
“Siyempre, hindi naman excuse ‘yung na-injure ka, and then hindi ka na lalaro,” said Castro, who was visibly limping on his way out of the Mall of Asia Arena on Friday night.
“So talagang pinilit ko para makatulong sa team,” he added.
“And then ‘yun, talo pa rin.”
Castro, back in the lineup after serving a three-game suspension for his involvement in the brawl against Australia in July, gave all he could to lift Gilas against Iran.
He scored 19 points, 15 of which came in the second half, and nailed a three-pointer with 2:54 left that pushed the Philippines ahead, 68-67. Unfortunately, he also bricked two three-pointers inside the final two minutes, as Iran ended the game on a 9-0 run to overwhelm the home team.
“Wala, ganoon talaga,” said Castro. “Lahat naman, ginawa namin. Binigay namin ‘yung best namin. Unfortunately, natalo.”
Castro, who was the hero when the Philippines last defeated Iran back in 2015, noted that the Filipinos were in control for the most part of the game, and had even built an 8-point lead in the fourth quarter.
But Iran was simply more poised in crunch time, while the Philippines settled for long-range attempts and struggled with rebounding, while also committing key turnovers.
“‘Yung last na less than one minute, may mga mistake kaming nagawa,” said Castro. “At the same time, may tough shot silang na-make. So ganoon talaga.”
“Siguro, matuto na lang kami sa mga mali namin, and let’s try to win ‘yung last window,” he added.
The loss notwithstanding, Castro said he was grateful to return to the national team after being involved in the controversial brawl that put Philippine basketball in a harsh light.
“Sobrang thankful ako na na-consider nila ako, and at the same time, ma-represent ‘yung country,” said Castro. “So hopefully next window, mapasama ulit.”
The Philippines is in a must-win situation for the February window, when the Filipinos take on Qatar and Kazakhstan on the road.
“Confident naman ako na sa last window, alam kong kaya natin manalo,” Castro said. “Kailangan lang natin, ‘yung mga mistakes natin, ma-correct natin. And kailangan natin ng magandang preparation, mas mahaba.”
“Kasi, new system. Kailangan mahabang preparation para ma-organize,” he said.
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Article source: http://news.abs-cbn.com/sports/12/04/18/fiba-world-cup-returning-jayson-castro-plays-through-ankle-sprain-in-loss