By Kevin Sox
There is a possibility Jayson Castro will not be joining Gilas Pilipinas in the upcoming 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup in China on August, head coach Yeng Guiao bared on Monday night during the team’s first practice in preparation for the prestigious tournament.
“We’re just going to finalize his status. He has personal priorities so we will finalize that within the week if he’s going to be staying with the team or taking a break,” said Guiao, per ESPN5.
Castro is a many-time member of the national team. He was named to the All Star 5 of the FIBA Asia Cups in 2013 and 2015 where he helped Gilas to back to back silver medal finishes.
The TNT KaTropa playmaker initially retired in the aftermath of Gilas’ 2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament run, but made his return shortly in the 2017 SEABA Championship.
Castro was instrumental in Gilas’ World Cup qualifiers campaign.
Guiao added that only Castro could answer what issue or concern he is dealing with right now.
“Of course (he’s a big loss). But to me, we have a deep talent pool. And it’s also time for the next generation to be given the chance. Also next week, Kiefer Ravena can practice. He’s one of the guys we’re looking to take up the place of Jayson,” said Guiao.
Gilas regulars who attended practice on Monday included five-time PBA MVP June Mar Fajardo, Japeth Aguilar, Marcio Lassiter, Raymond Almazan, Roger Pogoy, Gabe Norwood, Mark Barroca and Troy Rosario.