WHILE HE was quick to say that there is still a lot of good basketball left in him, TNT KaTropa star guard Jayson Castro could not help but be sentimental and appreciative of having his efforts on the court continued to be recognized even as this stage of his highly successful Philippine Basketball Association career.

Now 33 years old, Mr. Castro added another feather under his cap by winning the best player of the conference award in the ongoing PBA Commissioner’s Cup, his fifth in his 11 years in Asia’s first play for pay league.

And the significance of this latest accolade is not lost to the TNT veteran considering that competition in the league and the level play of the players right now have risen significantly.

Mr. Castro, who averaged 14.7 points, six assists and 5.3 rebounds up until the semifinals, beat out San Miguel Beermen’s June Mar Fajardo and rookies Ray Parks Jr. of Blackwater Elite, Robert Bolick of Northport Batang Pier and CJ Perez of Columbian Dyip for the prestigious award.

“I appreciate this award so much. At my age, to be able to get an award such as this, it shows that my hard work is not being overlooked and it only motivates me to keep going and improving,” said Mr. Castro when asked by media for his thoughts on the award following Game Four of the best-of-seven PBA Commissioner’s Cup finals series on Sunday.

Pampanga native Castro finished with 1,077 total points — from statistical points, media and PBA votes — to run away with the award.

Mr. Fajardo of finals foe San Miguel was a far second with 762 points.

Mr. Parks ended up at third with 576 points, followed by Mr. Perez (428) and Mr. Bolick (421).

The latest BPC plum of Mr. Castro was in addition to those he won in the Philippine Cup (2012), Commissioner’s Cup (2014 and 2015) and Governors’ Cup (2016).

He also tied two-time league most valuable player Danny Ildefonso at second with the most BPC awards with five, behind only Mr. Fajardo who has eight.

But despite the joy he is feeling from winning another BPC award, Gilas Pilipinas standout Castro underscored that the ultimate goal for him this conference is to win another championship for TNT, something they have not experienced since 2015.

“While I’m happy with this award, our goal is still to win the championship. They (San Miguel) are always winning and it’s about time to have our turn,” Mr. Castro said.

The ongoing finals between TNT and San Miguel is tied at two games apiece with Game Five set for Wednesday, Aug. 14. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo