THE best point guard in Asia, may turn out to be the best basketball player in the continent.
Smart Gilas Pilipinas guard Jayson Castro (known in international play as Jayson Williams), who was named as Asia’s best point guard two years ago, is in the mix to win the Most Valuable Player award in the ongoing 2015 FIBA Asia Championship with his sensational and consistent play in leading the Philippines’ drive to secure the only berth for Asia in the Rio Olympics.
Castro, who was named to the Mythical Five (point guard position) back in 2013 in the last version of the tournament, has so far displayed consistent and exceptional leadership aside from putting up the needed points to lead the nationals to a sixth straight victory and into the semifinals against Japan, which they were playing late Friday.
For the record, Castro has been averaging 17.4 points, three rebounds and 2.1 assists and is shooting an exceptional 56.3 percent per contest thus far.
Gilas Pilipinas coach Tab Baldwin himself said he is continually awed by what Castro is doing for the National team and of his ability to perform at a high level each game.
“He is just a true talent,’’ said Baldwin of his top gun. “He’s really carrying us both on and off the court like a true leader.’’
The 29-year-old spitfire exploded for 26 points early in the week to tow Gilas Pilipinas to a critical victory over defending champion Iran in the second round of the eliminations to help the nationals secure the top seed for Group E and be in a good position to go all the way.
And against Lebanon on Wednesday, Castro scattered 25 points to again lead the nationals to the semifinals against the Japanese.
Aside from Castro, the other contender for the MVP plum is Chinese ace and former NBA player Yi Jianlian. China remains unbeaten and was playing Iran also Friday in the other semifinal pairing.
Yi has been averaging 18 points, eight rebounds and 1.6 assists per contest for China.