Ballesteros makes most of familiarity with former Gilas teammates Slaughter, Aguilar
Jason Ballesteros celebrates after hitting the marginal basket for Meralco. Jerome Ascano

BOCAUE – Jason Ballesteros held his own against Ginebra's towering frontline and ended up as the unlikely hero for Meralco in an 84-82 win that kept alive its bid for a playoff spot in the PBA Philippine Cup.

Ballesteros stood his ground against Greg Slaughter on the defensive end, hauled down 17 rebounds then scored the Bolts' final three points, including the go-ahead putback baset with 36 left,  83-82.

Ballesteros said he was merely responding to coach Norman Black’s challenge as the Bolts fought for dear life in the all-Filipino conference.

“Buenas slang. Sabi ni coach, kung gusto namin pumasok ng quarters, maglaro kami ng maayos. Lalo na yung mga big man, kailangan mag-step up kasi malalaki nga ang Ginebra,” said the PBA journeyman.

“So yun lang ang ginawa ko. Nag-step up lang. Salamat kay Lord,” he added.

A member of the first batch of Gilas Pilipinas under Rajko Toroman, Ballesteros was happy that he was able to match-up with his former teammates in Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar.

His familiarity with the Twin Towers of the Gin Kings served him well, said the 6-6 big man.

“Kahit paano, alam ko na yung mga laro nila dahil sa Gilas noon magkakasama kami,” Ballesteros said.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @CAJacinto11