IT was supposed to be garbage time in what had been a terribly lopsided game on Wednesday night, the subs mopping up what had been a certain San Mig victory over Petron.
Justin Melton turned it into the highlight of his pro career so far.
Showing off his amazing vertical leap, the 5-foot-10 rookie soared to grab an alley-oop pass by Alex Mallari then emphatically slammed in a two-handed dunk to put a fitting end to a 112-93 victory over the lackluster Boosters.
That highlight dunk left mouths agape inside the Big Dome and served to introduce Melton to PBA fans, who has had little opportunity to witness the Angeles City-born Fil-American in action after he fractured the ring finger in his left hand barely a week into the season.
The 26-year-old Melton, picked in the second round at 13th overall by San Mig in the last rookie draft, has since waited patiently for his chance to shine, which came at the most unexpected time on Wednesday.
"I have been waiting for it," said the former Mt. Olive College standout after the game. "I didn't know this is the day but thank goodness it was tonight."
The dunk, of course, was nothing out of the ordinary for Melton, a former star of the Malaysia Westport Dragons in the Asean Basketball League (ABl) who has a vertical leap measured at 11 feet and four inches.
Asked what is the secret to his terrific hops, Melton joked: "A lot of balut, that's my secret for my high jump."
But turning serious, he continued, "No, there's no secret to that. It's just hard work and practice."
The slam dunk was his only two points of the game, but the reaction from the crowd made it a lot more special, the San Mig rookie said.
"It was exciting to look around and see everybody jump from one play," Melton said. "That was cool, that was kind of surreal. It was nice to see."