Manila, Jun 22 : Jayson Castro, the most reliable point guard in the Philippines men's national basketball team, confirmed on Friday night he won't be playing for his country in the coming 2019 FIBA World Cup.
Having served the national team in the past for a long time while cutting a reputation as one of Asia's top point guards, Castro said it is about time he puts his family as his top priority.
"I want to focus on my family because it has been almost seven years of non-stop basketball," said Castro, who recently married his fiance.
Castro added that he already talked to Yeng Guiao, the Philippine national team' head coach, as well as Manny Pangilinan, the Chairman Emeritus of the country's basketball governing body Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP).
The 32-year-old Castro has been with the national team since his youth team days in 2004 and has been with the current incarnation of the Philippines' national basketball squad, also known as Gilas Pilipinas, since 2013.
As a member of the Gilas Pilipinas reaching the World Cup in 2014, Castro played a key role in helping the country replicate that feat for a second time.
"It's time to give it to the younger guys and I see that they are ready," Castro added.
The veteran guard said he hopes everybody in the team understands his decision. He even hinted that his international basketball career is already done.
"Maybe," Castro answered when asked if he is leaving Gilas Pilipinas for good.
Gilas Pilipinas is ready to let the 25-year-old Kiefer Ravena take over the point guard chores, according to Guiao.
Ravena was suspended for 18 months after his food supplement tested positive for prohibited substances, but the ban ends on August 24, just in time for the FIBA World Cup which will be held in China.
To prepare for the World Cup, the Philippines team will leave for Spain on August to play a series of tune-up games before its first bout against Italy on August 31, followed by Serbia on Sept. 2 and Angola on Sept. 4. (UNI-XINHUA)