Jayson Castro returned from sick bay in time to score the crucial points at crunch time and power TNT Tropang Giga to a 95-92 victory over Phoenix Super LPG yesterday, Wednesday, November 18 at the Angeles University Foundation Sports Arena & Cultural Center Powered by Smart 5G.
Castro nursed an ailing calf. He had to sit out games against the Blackwater Elite and Rain or Shine Elasto Painters and played limited minutes during TNT’s 104-83 victory over the Alaska Aces in the Quarterfinals but returned in time to power TNT to a 1-0 lead in the Semifinals of the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup.
When asked what inspired him to play through the injury, the TNT veteran said he drew inspiration from all the hard work and sacrifice of his teammates.
“Sa team namin. Since the ‘bubble’ we played as a team. Ine-encourage nila ako. Sabi nila kung ano ang kaya kong gawin gawin ko lang. During the bubble puro rehab lang. Malaking bagay talaga ang tulong ng teammates ko,” said Castro.
Castro stepped into a three-pointer to extend the TNT lead to 4 points, 90-86, with 1:14 left to play. Calvin Abueva countered with a layup for Phoenix to cut the gap to 2 points, 90-88, with 54 seconds to go.
Simon Enciso missed a three-point attempt but Castro grabbed the rebound then stretched in for a layup to hike the TNT advantage back to 4 points, 92-88, with 26 seconds to go.
RJ Jazul drilled a three-pointer to cut that lead to just a point, 92-91, with 20 seconds left to play.
Enciso and Jason Perkins traded split charities to peg the count at, 93-92, with 7 seconds to play before Castro added 2 more freebies to finalize the count, 95-92.
Castro finished with 20 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists to win Player of the Game honors.
Phoenix star player Matthew Wright missed almost the entirety of the game after rolling his ankle. He had 2 points in 6 minutes of playing time.
Jazul drilled the technical free throw to hike the Phoenix lead to five points, 21-16, late in the first period. Poy Erram got a technical foul for taunting after blocking Jansen Rio.s
Justin Chua added three more free throws to push Phoenix ahead, 24-16, after the first period.
TNT Tropang Giga 95 – Jayson Castro 20, Ray Parks 17, Roger Pogoy 16, Poy Erram 15, Ryan Reyes 11, Kib Montalbo 6, Troy Rosario 5, Simon Enciso 4, Harvey Carey 1.
Phoenix Super LPG 92 – RJ Jazul 21, Jason Perkins 15, Calvin Abueva 13, Alex Mallari 13, RR Garcia 12, Brian Heruela 6, Justin Chua 3, JC Intal 3, Matthew Wright 2, Dave Marcelo 2, Jansen Rios 2, JayR Reyes 0.
Quarter Scores: 16-24, 36-37, 67-61, 95-92.