TNT 102 – San Miguel 97, TNT ties the series 2-2
Before the series between TNT and San Miguel started, the match-up fans were eyeing was the one between Jayson Castro and Chris Ross. For the longest time now, Castro has been considered as the best point guard in the PBA. It only made sense, considering that he has been known as the best point guard in Asia for two years now. His blend of strength, skill and speed was close to impossible to match in the PBA.
Then comes Chris Ross. He doesn’t have the same speed as Castro, nor is he as bull strong as The Blur when getting to the rim. But what Ross gives you is a ton of versatility, leadership, and some of the best defense out there courtesy of smart, passionate play. Pair that with an offensive game which became a strength for him given his improved jumper, and you get a player who is a Best Player of the Conference contender. Win the BPC he did.
As Ross raised up the BPC award before the start of Game 4, you could get a sense that fans were starting to sway by the side of the San Miguel guard when it came to discussions of who the best point guard in the PBA is. He was putting up near triple-doubles in a league where putting up one is close to impossible. His production wasn’t just helping him as an individual. It was also making the entire Beermen team look better as he led his team with elite quarterbacking on both ends of the floor. Calling him the best point guard in the PBA wouldn’t be that crazy of a thing to do.
After Game 4, it was clear that Castro took offense to fans swaying towards the side of Ross.
If you look at the box score, it isn’t evident that Castro was the reason why TNT won this game against the Beermen. He scored *just* 17 points along with four rebounds and an assist. Those aren’t exactly statistics which shout best point guard in Asia. For the first three-quarters, he looked nothing like the title which has been bestowed upon him. It was Joshua Smith and Troy Rosario leading the way, with their production down low doing enough to keep the Katropa in the game against the Beermen.
Smith and Rosario prepared the coffin for the Beermen. They just needed someone to place San MIguel in that coffin and for another one to nail it for good measure. Castro performance said, “Let me do both.” At face value, it looked silent. When you listen, it sounds like a Blur that not only puts you in the coffin and nails you there but a Blur that rips your heart out and takes pride as you pointlessly scream for your life.
After scoring just seven points to start the game, Castro went on a rampage and led the KaTropa by scoring 10 points in the final quarter. It was a brilliant showcase of his gifts, as he scored off drives, jumpers and even off the ball. Aside from his scoring, The Blur also helped set the table for the Katropa, masterfully setting up the plays for TNT and making sure their attack offensively was also efficient, calculated, and effective. He controlled the pace, making sure that it favored them and not their rivals. His mere presence made the baskets by Smith, Rosario and RR Pogoy easier, and this ultimately led to the demise of the Beermen.
The series between the two flagship teams of rivals SMC and MVP now stand in a tie. Many predicted that the Beermen would run away with a gentleman’s sweep to continue their dominance, but TNT took exception to that. A large part of that has been Castro.
If the KaTropa hopes to win this series, they need more performances like this from The Blur. They can’t have him taking a step-back for his other teammates. Doing so definitely deserves praise. But what TNT needs from Castro is The Blur who’s willing to rip the hearts out of other teams with no mercy in the clutch. The Castro who turns on the jets when the going gets stuff. The Jayson Castro that’s determined to make his case as the best point guard in the PBA.