JUSTIN Melton made things happen on both ends for Magnolia, hitting big shots in the fourth quarter while hounding Stanley Pringle all night long in a 96-81 win over GlobalPort on Friday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The high-flying guard held Pringle to one of his worst games as a pro. The GlobalPort star finished with five points on 1-of-12 shooting and no assists after coming in averaging 23.2 points, 8.3 rebounds and 4.5 assists this season.
“The mindset coming in was to stay in front of Pringle. Pringle is such an awesome player obviously, so, my whole mindset tonight was do the best you can, slow him down,” said Melton.
“You can’t, he’s not a person you can stop. He goes inside and outside, that was the whole mindset going in,” he added.
Melton, however, insisted the defensive clampdown on Pringle was not the work of one man.
“I think that was a team effort. It’s my job to stay in front but he runs on ball screens and all that stuff, it takes five guys to guard a pick and roll and to be able to hold Pringle to five points, that’s a team effort. That’s not me, that’s the team,” said Melton.
But it’s not just on the defensive end where Melton was effective.
The Fil-American guard finished with 14 points, making four of his six attempts from downtown to go along with six rebounds and five assists. He hit five straight points late in the fourth period to quash a late uprising from the Batang Pier.
“I was just shooting when I was open, that’s all. They fell towards the fourth quarter, that was that,” Melton said.
Although Paul Lee has already returned from injury, Melton understood that Lee is still far from top form and he’s just doing what he can until the shifty combo-guard returns to peak form.
“I’m just staying aggressive. Paul is not exactly 100 percent yet, he will be by next game and as you know, Paul brings a lot of points to the team. But when Paul is still trying to get back in rhythm, I’m just trying to stay aggressive on offense, shooting my open shots, passing when I need to pass.”