MANILA - Already playing without its leading scorer, TNT found itself without its chief playmaker as well when Jayson Castro aggravated a knee issue in Game 4 of their PBA Philippine Cup Finals series against Barangay Ginebra.
The Tropang Giga have played the last three games of the best-of-seven affair sans Ray Parks Jr., who is still recovering from a left calf strain that he sustained in Game 1.
They played most of the second half of Game 4 without Castro after "The Blur" went down with 9:35 left in the third period. Castro had driven to the hoop and dropped the ball to Poy Erram for a layup, but was slow to get up.
Replays showed he was not hit in the play but Castro needed help to make it back to the bench. He did not return to the game, which TNT lost 98-88 to go down 1-3 in the series.
According to a report from Selina Dagdag-Alas of ESPN5, Castro is dealing with bone spurs that cause pain to flare up in his left knee. The pain is compounded whenever he lands with impact, as he did during his last play of the game.
Castro played just over 17 minutes, making just one of his six attempts from the field to finish with two points, two assists, and two rebounds.
Ginebra coach Tim Cone acknowledged that Castro's exit "changed the complexion" of the game. The Gin Kings went on to lead by 18 points in the fourth quarter before fending off a Roger Pogoy-led fightback by the Tropang Giga.
"That's some two big losses for them, but I know that Bobby Ray's supposedly close to coming back and Jayson's a warrior, you know," Cone said. "He'll find a way if he possibly can."
Aside from not having Parks and losing Castro, the Tropang Giga also saw Pogoy exit briefly after turning his ankle early in the game, though he made a quick return and scored 34 points. Troy Rosario also appeared to hurt his shoulder early in the third quarter, just a few minutes before Castro made his exit.