FIBA: Gilas still finalizing Castro's status for World Cup, says Guiao

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 17 2019 08:40 PM | Updated as of Jun 18 2019 01:21 AM

MANILA - It is unsure if veteran point guard Jayson Castro will be part of the Philippine national team that will compete in the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup in China this August.

This, according to Gilas Pilipinas head coach Yeng Guiao who revealed Monday night that "personal priorities" may keep Castro from suiting up for the national team.

"Meron lang kaming isa pang concern -- yung situation ni Jayson, ni Jayson Castro. So we’re just going to siguro finalize yung status niya," Guiao said after Gilas wrapped up its first practice at the Meralco Gym.

"Meron din kasi siyang mga personal priorities. So we will finalize that within the week also if he’s going to be staying with the team or taking a break," he added.

Castro has been an integral part of the national team program since 2013, when he led GIlas Pilipinas to a silver medal finish in the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship, and with it a berth to the World Cup in Spain.

He was named to the all-tournament team in both the 2013 and 2015 editions of the FIBA Asia Championship, leading him to be tabbed the "Best Point Guard in Asia."

But "The Blur" has already once stepped back from the national team, after their failed bid to qualify to the 2016 Olympic Games. He eventually returned, and was a major factor in the Philippines' qualification to the 2019 FIBA World Cup.

The 32-year-old Castro played 8 games in the FIBA Asia World Cup qualifiers, though he was also suspended for 3 games for his involvement in the Philippines' brawl with Australia in July 2018.

Guiao said that he and Castro have already talked about his status, but declined to make a final pronouncement regarding the guard's inclusion in the team.

"Siguro, we will issue the final list of the pool. Makikita niyo na lang doon kung andoon siya o wala, later on," he said.

Guiao did not specify what "personal issues" led Castro to ponder taking a break from Gilas, although the guard recently got married to Lyle Castro -- a wedding that had been repeatedly postponed because of the national team.

"Personal 'yung sabi niya eh," said Guiao. "I think he's the only guy na pwedeng sumagot noon. Kasi ayaw ko namang akong sumagot doon sa personal issues niya."

What's certain is that Castro's service to the national team cannot be questioned, said Guiao.

"Si Jayson naman ang tagal nang nagsilbi sa national team. Ang tagal na talaga siyang nagsisilbi sa national team. I don’t think we can say anything against him thinking about taking a break," he stressed.

Castro averaged 14.5 points and 3 assists per game in the qualifiers.