JUSTIN Melton seized the moment on Tuesday night when Star turned back Talk ‘N Text, 105-93, to keep the Hotshots’ playoff bid alive in the PBA Governors’ Cup.
Coming in averaging just five points, 2.4 rebounds, and one assist in 15.6 minutes in five games this conference, the pint-sized playmaker stood tall as he gained extensive minutes when coach Tim Cone turned to a small lineup to match the Tropang Texters’ quickness.
And Melton made the most of his 27 minutes, putting up 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting, including two treys, four boards, and one assist as he led the Hotshots’ fourth-quarter breakaway that paved the way for their fourth win in nine games.
“I guess it’s about staying ready,” Melton said. “Basketball’s a team game, so whenever you need people to step up, they step up. That goes for everybody.”
“It’s not really about minutes for me. I just want to win,” the athletic point guard added. “As long as we win, I don’t care about minutes at this point.”
Cone was glad his player repaid his faith.
“Justin played great tonight,” the multi-titled American mentor said. “It just shows the character he has. He is a really good player. Given an opportunity, he might even be a truly great player in this league, and he hasn’t been given that opportunity.”
Melton shone brightest in the final frame where he scored nine points, the last two on a jumper that gave the Hotshots a 102-83 lead and took the fight out of the Tropang Texters.
“Given the chance, he’s always ready,” Cone continued. “And when you’re struggling like we have been throughout the conference, we’re just out there looking for combinations. And when we see a hot hand, we just ride him.
“Tonight, we rode Justin).”