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Castro hangs Gilas jersey

The Blur is stepping away from the fast lane in the international scene.

But though Jayson Castro will be Asian basketball’s best point guard no more, the memories of his exploits with Gilas Pilipinas will be remembered for all time.

Castro formally relinquished the throne Thursday night when he announced his retirement from the national team through social media, ending an international career that blossomed in 2013 when he led Gilas to a memorable showing in front of home fans in the FIBA Asia Championship.

The Tropang TNT star’s announcement on Instagram confirmed what he had hinted moments after Gilas’ early exit in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament, saying that he may have donned the famous No. 7 jersey for the final time.

“The end of our bid for a spot in the Rio Olympics will also be the end of my stint as a member of Gilas Pilipinas,” Castro said.

Castro’s decision to call it quits and, likely, focus his attention on his pro career and his family came amid the impending move by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas to form a new national team squad led by some of the country’s top amateurs.

He said that it’s time for fresh blood to take over.

“For the past few years, it has been my honor to represent all of you but now it’s time to hand over the responsibility to the younger generation,” he added.

Castro earned the label of the continent’s best playmaker twice, first in 2013 when he led Gilas to a silver medal and a historic berth in the FIBA World Cup in Spain.

He won the same distinction last year in the FIBA Asia tourney in Changsha, China although Gilas lost in the final to the host nation and was denied a direct birth to the Rio Olympics.

The Philippine Christian University standout tried his best to be the same player that he was in both competitions at this year’s OQT, but had moments of struggles against crack counterparts from France and New Zealand.

After their elimination from the OQT, Castro told reporters outside of the Mall of Asia Arena that “siguro this is my last,” a sad reality that a chapter was ending in his colorful career.

It was in the same venue where Castro rose to international prominence, in the FIBA Asia semifinals against bitter rival South Korea. He was unstoppable almost throughout the memorable contest, challenging every Korean opponent with daredevil drives and blazing speed.

All that is over though.

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