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Castro out to impart expertise

One of the reasons why Jayson Castro decided to rejoin the national team after initially retiring from playing for Gilas Pilipinas is his desire to impart his knowledge to young players.

Castro knows that at 31 years old, he only has few years left playing for the Philippines, reason why he wants to use his remaining years helping the development of youngsters like Kevin Alas, Kiefer Ravena and Jio Jalalon.

Jayson Castro and Andray Blatche lead Gilas to victory over Japan on Friday. (FIBA.com)

Jayson Castro and Andray Blatche lead Gilas to victory over Japan on Friday. (FIBA.com)

In the team’s opener in the FIBA Asia qualifier for the 2019 World Cup in China versus Japan last Friday, Castro made sure he’d be imparting his understanding not in words but by his actions.

The longtime TNT KaTropa combo guard torched the Japanese with 20 points on 7-13 shooting from the perimeter, while adding seven rebounds, six assists and a steal in 29 minutes of action as Gilas won 77-71 in Tokyo.

“Malaking bagay yung unang panalo,” said Castro yesterday as Gilas resumed its practice session at the Meralco gym in Pasig City to prepare for its second match against Taiwan.

The encounter between the Filipinos and the Taiwanese is scheduled today at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Although the 5-foot-11 Castro still remains one of the leaders of the team, it’s important for him to share his knowledge to Alas and Ravena, both members of Gilas in the qualifier, and Jalalon, who is part of the national team training pool for this World Cup.

“Isa sa mga dahilan yun kaya ako nag-decide bumalik sa Gilas,” said Castro, who announced his retirement in 2016 after the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) here.

“Kapag sa ensayo or sa game, kinaka-usap ko sila, nakakapga-share ako kung paanong ma-execute yung play,” said Castro, a two-time member of the FIBA Asia Mythical Five.

Castro was convinced by Gilas head coach Chot Reyes to come out of retirement as Gilas started preparation for various international tournaments leading up to this all-important World Cup qualifier.

Castro said that playing for flag and country is totally different, especially when in front of the home crowd, which he expects to fill the coliseum against the Taiwanese tonight.

“Iba pa din kapag ang dala is Philippine Team, iba yung pakiramdam lalo kung naglalaro ka sa harap ng mga kababayan natin. Kaya masaya ako na nakakalaro pa din ako sa Gilas,” said Castro. (Waylon P. Galvez)