MANILA, Philippines – Should it have counted?
Jayson Castro left it for the game officials to decide whether he beat the buzzer as his game-winning jumper lifted TNT to a pulsating 86-84 win over San Miguel in Game 1 of the PBA Philippine Cup finals on Sunday, August 21.
Game officials took time to review the contentious shot before they concluded that Castro released the jumper just in time, paving the way for the Tropang Giga to claim a 1-0 finals lead.
“It all depends on what the referees saw,” Castro said in Filipino. “As far as I’m concerned, I know that I shot it before the buzzer.”
“But of course, it all comes down to the referees’ decision.”
Castro churned out 15 points, with 10 coming in the second half as the defending champions stormed back from a double-digit deficit to gain the upper hand in their title-retention bid.
Although past his peak, the 36-year-old veteran remains the primary closer for TNT, with Castro also draining the game-winning triple in Game 3 of their semifinals clash against Magnolia.
But Castro downplayed his endgame heroics.
“I need to shoot it because the ball goes to me,” he said.
As thrilling as the escape act may be, Castro said the win leaves much to be desired as turnovers and missed free throws nearly cost the team.
The Tropang Giga committed 13 of their 18 turnovers in the first half, which the Beermen capitalized on to build a lead as big as 15 points.
Also, TNT shot a paltry 52% from the charity stripe after making just 12 of its 15 free throws.
“We had a terrible first half because we had a lot of turnovers and missed free throws,” Castro said. “We need to fix our defense as well.”
Castro and the Tropang Giga aim for a 2-0 lead on Wednesday, August 24. – Rappler.com