MANILA, Philippines – Tim Cone expressed doubt on Jayson Castro making it in time for the Southeast Asian Games as the veteran Gilas Pilipinas guard suffered a soleus muscle strain on his right calf.
Castro is expected to be sidelined for 4 to 6 weeks, meaning he would likely miss the biennial showpiece that the Philippines will host starting November 30.
“I don’t see him being able to get ready in time to come and play,” said Cone after steering Barangay Ginebra to a 98-89 win over Rain or Shine in the PBA Governors’ Cup on Saturday, October 26.
“If he makes the minimum time, which means he’ll come back November 26 [or] 27, that would be 3 days before the tournament starts. That’s if he’s healthy.”
“He has to get in shape, he has to play. If he’s 5 weeks, he’s out, 6 weeks, we’re already done. It’s basically a 4 to 6 week injury.”
The development is evidently a big deal for Gilas Pilipinas, which has banked on Castro in several tournaments in the past.
And in a team chock-full of PBA superstars, Cone said Castro commands the respect of his peers, having proven his skill and leadership not just in the local league, but also in the international stage.
“Obviously losing a guy like Jayson is a huge, huge blow. He was one of the guys I was really looking forward to coaching and relying on,” Cone said.
“Tough news. But tougher for him, having to come back from that.”
For now, Cone and his coaching staff will confer whether to stick with the remaining 14 players or add another to complete the 15-man pool.
“Down to 14, we’ll make a decision later on whether we’ll go back to 15 or stay at 14. We haven’t made that decision yet,” Cone said. – Rappler.com