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Castro, Jalalon laslas sa Gilas

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Walang Jayson Castro sa unang sabak ng Gilas Pilipinas sa window 2 ng 2019 FIBA Cup Asian Qualifiers.

Pinangalanan na ng coaching staff ang final 12 ng Gilas Pilipinas na isasagupa sa Australia sa Margaret Court Arena sa Melbourne ngayon, Feb. 22.

Unang pagkakata­on na haharapin ng Filipinos ang Boomers, kapareho nilang 2-0 sa Group B matapos kapwa talunin ang Japan at Chinese Taipei sa window 1.

Bitbit ng bansa pa-Australia noong Lunes ang 14-man pool, sa final roster ay nalaglag sina guards Castro at Jio Jalalon.

Sa final 12 swak sina Kiefer Ravena, Kevin Alas, Carl Bryan Cruz, Calvin Abueva, Matthew Wright, Allein Maliksi, Gabe Norwood, Roger Pogoy, June Mar Fajardo, Japeth Aguilar, natura­lized Andray Blatche at newcomer Abu Tratter.

Susubukang akuin ng NLEX teammates na sina Ravena at Alas ang binakanteng puwesto ni premier guard Castro, sa first window ay nag-average ng 20 points, 5.5 rebounds at 5 assists.

Ipinunto ng coaching­ staff na hindi pa 100 percent si Castro mula sa inabot na twisted ankle sa laro ng TNT KaTropa kontra Phoenix at Ginebra.

“As of yesterday, he tried to go hard in practice but still he wasn’t there at all,” paliwanag nila. “So we decided that Jayson is going to sit out, together with Jio who’s also feeling some slight pain in his leg.”

Malaking papel ang babalikatin nina Ra­vena at Alas, pero tiwala ang coach na kakayanin nilang punan ang butas na iniwan ni Castro.

“It’s hard not having our top point guard, but this is an opportunity for Kiefer to step up and for Kevin to get a lot more minutes than he usually gets,” panapos ng coach.

Tapos ng laro ay biyahe agad pauwi ang Filipinos para harapin naman ang Japan sa MOA Arena sa Feb. 25. (Vladi Eduarte)

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