TNT Tropang Giga star veteran Jayson Castro has traveled the world over the course of his storied basketball career.
From international stops with Gilas Pilipinas, and out-of-town games with the PBA, the 35-year-old floor general has seen and done it all.
So it was understandably an emotional moment for Castro on Wednesday, September 1, when he made his return to his high school alma mater Don Honorio Ventura State University (DHVSU) as a part of the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup restart in Bacolor, Pampanga.
“Hindi ko ma-imagine na makakapaglaro ako ulit sa gym na ‘to, kasi almost 18 years [ago na] nag-graduate ako ng high school dito. Naglaro ako ng varsity dito,” he said after TNT blew out the Blackwater Bossing, 96-76, fittingly in the first game of the restart.
“First time ko atang kabahan kasi ‘yun nga, dito ako namulat sa basketball. Dito ako nangarap.”
(I couldn’t imagine playing here again, 18 years after graduating high school. I played for the varsity here. This is probably the first time I got nervous, because this is where I started with basketball. This is where my dream started.)
Despite the nerves and emotions going all over the place for Castro, the consummate pro focused on the task at hand, and helped steer the ship far away from a 37-43 halftime deficit before finishing with 11 points, 2 rebounds, and 2 assists off the bench.
He then finally found time to relax and reminisce after helping the undefeated Tropang Giga earn their fourth straight win for a share of first place in the standings.
“’Nung time ko, ako lang ‘yung mag-isang high school varsity na kasama sa college. That time, ‘yung mga teammate ko tsaka sports director, sobrang supportive sila sa’kin kasi nakita rin ‘yung potential ko from track and field to basketball,” he said.
“Parang ang bilis ‘nung shift, so sobrang thankful ako kasi na-guide din nila ako.”
(During my time, I was the only high school varsity who was still playing through college. That time, my teammates and sports director were so supportive because they saw my potential from track and field to basketball. It was a quick shift, so I’m really thankful that they guided me.)
After leading Gilas in big-time countries like Spain and China, and grinding for six championships in the PBA, the Bacolor native comes back home a living legend in his own right.
Much like his moniker, Castro’s 18-year journey came full circle seemingly in a blur. – Rappler.com