Surprise starter Justin Melton's solid showing vs SMB a silver lining for falling Star
Justin Melton just recovered from a hamstring injury but coach Jason Webb says fine performances in practice earned the guard a start. Jerome Ascano 

IF there’s a silver lining to Star's loss to San Miguel Beer, it’s that coach Jason Webb’s pulled out another gambit that paid off.

After inserting RR Garcia into the starting lineup and getting their best out of his new recruit in a win against GlobalPort, the rookie coach decided to start Justin Melton against the Beermen in the PBA Governors’ Cup on Sunday.

The move looked surprising after Melton missed the Hotshots’ first three games as the athletic playmaker recovered from a hamstring injury.

Melton delivered with 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting, with all but one of his conversions from the three-point range in just 16 minutes of play.

[See Webb keeps faith in foul-plagued, error-prone Blakely]

His performance in two practices was enough to convince Webb to reward the former Slam Dunk contest champion with a start.

“We play the guys who we feel will play well,” Webb said. “Last time it was RR, now it was Justin, so it’s good that players are responding.”

“When you look at our team, balansiyado,” he added. “Whoever’s playing good in practice, (that’s the one who’ll play) and he played really good in practice, so I’m happy na lumabas sa laro.”

Still, Melton, who completed an efficient effort with two boards and one assist without committing a single turnover, lamented that their performance as a unit proved insufficient to register a second straight win as they dropped to a 1-3 win-loss record.

“Collectively, we came up a little bit short; that's all really matters,” Melton said. “(But personally) I feel great, I feel comfortable, but a little bit winded cause I haven't practiced much.” 

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos