By JONAS TERRADO
Jayson Castro admitted feeling the nerves playing at his Alma Mater of Don Honorio Ventura State University in Bacolor, Pampanga for the first time as a PBA player.
“First time kung kabahan,” Castro said after helping TNT produce a 96-76 win over Blackwater in the resumption of the PBA Philippine Cup held Wednesday, Sept. 1.
The Tropang Giga star felt a sense of having to perform well inside the campus where his basketball dreams began.
Good thing, it was a usual day at the office for Castro, who finished with 11 points in 24 minutes.
“Dito ako namulat sa basketball, dito ako nangarap,” he said. “At nung sinabi nila na dito gagawin, parang nakakaproud kasi nakarating ako (sa PBA) nang dahil sa kanila.”
Castro also said during the virtual postgame press conference that the school had undergone major changes since the days when he was a varsity player in both basketball and track and field.
From a cement court, DHVSU now has a refurbished gymnasium which eventually became the PBA’s new venue after the Philippine Cup, which was previously held at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City, took a month-long break due to rising COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila.
“Before hindi siya ganito, cement lang siya,” Castro recalled before candidly describing his humble beginnings.
“Ako lang mag-isang high school na varsity na kasama sa college so siguro yun yung naging advantage ko rin going into college na na-experience ko yung ganun.
“That time, yun ding mga teammates ko tsaka sports director namin, sobrang supportive sa akin kasi nakita rin yung potential ko from track and field to basketball, parang ambilis nung shift. So sobrang thankful ako kasi na-guide din nila ako,” Castro concluded. Castro eventually took his talents to the NCAA with Philippine Christian University, setting up a decorated career in the PBA and for the national team.