MANILA, Philippines – Filipino fans' reactions to Jayson Castro's decision to step away from Gilas Pilipinas have been mixed.
While many respected the decision of "The Blur" to focus on his family and give way to the younger generation of Filipino guards, there were still others who questioned why Castro would beg off from the FIBA Basketball World Cup.
"Siguro it's time to give the younger guys a chance," Castro had said when he confirmed that he will not play for the Philippines in the FIBA World Cup. "Nakita ko naman na ready na rin sila."
Former Gilas standout Marc Pingris is asking fans to be more respectful of Castro's decision, pointing out that the TNT guard had dedicated most of the past decade to the national team.
"Karapatan ni Jayson na siguro 'yun na, katulad ng sinabi niya naman eh, binigay niya 'yung best niya dati. Karapatan din kumbaga na pinapasa niya sa mga mas bata ngayon," said Pingris, who visited the national team's practice earlier this week.
"Malaking bagay din sa mga bata ‘to eh, 'yung opportunity na makapaglaro din sila sa Gilas," he added.
"So saludo ako sa kaniya dahil kitang kita naman natin na binigay niya 'yung 100% niya dati, kahit may injury talagang naglalaro."
Pingris believes that the reason so many fans are questioning Castro is due to their love for the game of basketball, and their passionate support of the national team. However, he is hopeful that the fans will accept the reasons given by Castro.
"Grabe din 'yung batikos nila," he lamented. "So sana, huwag tayong ganoon."
"I mean, player lang din 'yang mga 'yan. Mga tao din, nasasaktan, napipiilayan, you know, tumatanda," he added. "Kumbaga, 'yung suporta natin 100%, 'pag binigay natin, dapat 100% talaga. Walang doubt."
Even without Castro in the team, Gilas Pilipinas still has a strong guard line-up that was bolstered by the return of NLEX's Kiefer Ravena and the addition of Columbian's CJ Perez and NorthPort's Robert Bolick.
Pingris is confident that these young guards can fill in the void – with the help, of course, of coach Yeng Guiao.
"I know Coach Yeng. Maga-guide niya 'yang mga 'yan," said Pingris, who was a major part of the Gilas team that qualified to the 2014 FIBA World Cup.
"Hindi naman kumbaga 'pag pinaglaro ka dito agad, alam mo 'yun. Dahan-dahan din kasi 'yan eh. Dahan-dahan nilang matututunan kung ano 'yung mga galaw sa FIBA," he said.
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