For the past year or so, Jayson Castro has quietly taken over the starting point guard chores from veteran Jimmy Alapag in the Talk 'N Text team in the PBA.
No doubt, the Pampanga native has emerged as one of the best point guards in the local professional league, and his inclusion in the Gilas Pilipinas lineup, while surprising to some fans, validated this.
On Sunday night, at the closing of the FIBA Asia Championship, Castro could now also lay claim to being one of the best point guards not only in the Philippines, but in all of Asia.
For the five-foot-ten spitfire was named to the tournament's mythical five, taking the point guard spot and joining Korea's wonder kid Kim Mingoo (shooting guard), Chinese Taipei's Lin Chih Chieh (small forward), and Iran's Oshin Sahakian (power forward) and Hamed Hadadi (center).
The choice of Castro was hardly surprising, though. Through nine games, he averaged a team-best 11.8 points, to go along with 3.2 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 21 minutes of action. Those 21 minutes were the most among the three Gilas point guards.
Throughout the tournament, Castro wowed the crowd with his quick first step, crossover moves and daring drives to the basket, including a spectacular drive against the much taller Hadadi in the first half of the gold-medal match. But even with his consistent play and shifty moves, the former PCU Dolphin expressed surprise at being named to the tournament's best five.
"Gulat ako kasi hindi ko naman in-expect ito," he said. "Sobrang proud ako. Salamat rin sa mga teammates ko kung hindi dahil sa kanila, hindi ko rin naman makukuha to.
"I'm doing my job na lang especially on the team. I'm a team player. I'm lucky na binigay sa akin ito."