Justin Jackson made good on his promise to fill up the needs of the Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok by producing a near 20-20 performance in Wednesday's 111-89 rout of TNT KaTropa that snapped a three-game losing streak in the PBA Commissioner's Cup.
Jackson finished with 18 points and 19 rebounds in his second game since replacing Curtis Kelly, helping the Hotshots erase a 12-point second quarter deficit and score their first win since going on a 3-1 start with first choice import Vernon Macklin.
"I can't let Magnolia down. Man, I can't do it," said Jackson. "They've been good to me, I gave a promise and I kept it."
The 30-year-old highlighted his strong play with a diving save in the third quarter, in the process hurting his hip. After the pain had subsided, Jackson returned to the game to provide timely contributions on the defensive end during the Hotshots' big breakaway in the payoff period.
Later, Jackson dismissed suggestions that his dangerous save was a game-changer. He instead praised his teammates for stepping up when needed.
"Definitely I think it gave momentum, for sure. But I mean, we got a great group of guys, a lot of veterans and they understand the moment," said Jackson. "They understand what it takes to win and that's what we did."
Coach Chito Victolero credited Jackson for filling Magnolia's needs despite not being as dominant as Macklin.
"He's not the best import when it comes to scoring but he's the most hardworking import," said Victolero. "Yung mga weaknesses niya, natatakpan naman ng kanyang strength which is yung kanyang energy.
"Binibigay niya lahat. Gusto niya ngang kunin lahat ng rebounds e. 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."
Magnolia, which improved to 4-4, is hoping to see Jackson continue his play in its bid for a late surge in the eliminations.(JT)