WITH everything going down south for Meralco in Game Three, coach Norman Black dug to the far reaches of his bench in the third quarter and pulled out Trevis Jackson.
Though that move seemed out of desperation from Black, it didn't take the Fil-Am guard by surprise.
He wasn't even nervous.
"Once I heard my name, I knew. I put the work in to be there so I wasn't nervous," the seldom-used Bolts guard said. "I was excited to play against them again. I never played in front of that many people before so I was excited."
Meralco was down by 20, 78-58, against Ginebra when Jackson sparked his side's late assault to open the fourth period, scoring five straight points as the lead, which was 23 at its highest, slowly dwindled.
"I just wanted to go hard for these guys," said the rookie, who had his first taste of PBA Finals action in Game Three. "Whether you're playing or not, it's your job to be ready as a professional."
Jackson said he wanted to give Meralco the emotional lift it needed, seeing how the team morale has sagged after center Raymond Almazan limped off with a knee injury back in the first quarter.
The fifth pick overall of the 2018 PBA Draft scored eight points and grabbed three rebounds in his 13 minutes on the floor. His presence gave the Bolts the spark they needed to cut the deficit down to five, 87-82, with 2:04 remaining.
"I gave it my all for them, especially for Kuya Raymond and I hope he's okay. I don't want to hold my head down because it's a chain effect. If anyone holds their head down, everyone else will start to do so.
"So I try to just keep the confidence up and keep the energy high because that's what I can bring to this team."
LA Tenorio and Japeth Aguilar nailed crucial baskets to douse the Meralco comeback and help Ginebra eke out the 92-84 win and regain the advantage, 2-1, in the 2019 PBA Govenors' Cup Finals.
Yet Jackson's breakout game gives Black another weapon in his arsenal going to the final stretch of the best-of-seven series.
Jackson promised to be ready.
"When I saw Nards (Pinto) and Nico (Salva) come in Game Two and they're knocking shots down, that motivates me to get in the gym and stay ready, too. So when coach Norman called my name, I just took it as go time," he said,
"I expect all of us to step up. No one likes losing, and that's our job, to come out here and be ready every day, so we'll be ready Wednesday. I have high hopes for my team and us, and like we said in the locker room, no heads down, everyone's head up and stay positive."