Justin Jackson eager to step up for Magnolia without Sangalang, Pingris 
A left hip injury fails to stop Justin Jackson from anchoring the middle for the undermanned Hotshots. Marlo Cueto

JUSTIN Jackson stayed true to his promise to play better after a so-so debut, leading Magnolia to a 111-89 victory over TNT in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Wednesday.

Jackson finished with 18 points, 19 rebounds, seven assists, and two blocks, but more so than his numbers, it’s his energy and hustle which turned out to be his best contribution in the win.

This couldn’t be anymore characterized in one defensive play in the four minute mark of the third quarter, when he sent Jayson Castro’s ball flying to the sidelines before saving the ball from going out of bounds, resulting to him hurting his left hip.

Though a bit sore and banged up, Jackson came back to finish the game in the fourth period and cap off the game for the Hotshots.

“I told naman nung simula na he’s not the best import when it comes to scoring but he’s the most hardworking import. Yung mga weaknesses niya, natatakpan naman ng kanyang strength which is yung kanyang energy,” said Victolero.

“Binibigay nya lahat. Gusto niya ngang kunin lahat ng rebounds eh. Nakikita naman ng locals yun how he works in practice, how he works in the game, how he wants to win this game. Then my local players responded to Justin Jackson,” he added.  “Kita naman natin kahit masakit na at lahat, kahit may dugo na. Andon pa rin siya. Wala akong masasabi talaga sa batang iyon. He works hard every possession.”

The energetic import said that he just wants to repay everything that the franchise has done for him in his short stint with the Philippines.

Jackson earlier went on record saying that Magnolia is ‘the best team’ that he’s ever played for.

“I can't let Magnolia down. Man, I can't do it. They've been good to me and I gave a promise and I kept it,” said Jackson who played down his role in the victory.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

“We got a great group of guys, a lot of veterans and they understand the moment. They understand what it takes to win and that's what we did,” he added.

Knowing that they’re playing without two of their best big men in Ian Sangalang and Marc Pingris, Jackson vows to work double-time to make sure that the gap that the pair left will be filled.

“That's my mindset, you know. I mean, our team is lacking in rebounds early in the season and I want to carry that load. I want to get every rebound, block every shot and score when we need to score. And I thought I did a good job doing that today.”

Follow the writer on Twitter: @CAJacinto11