Travis Jackson averaged just eight minutes playing time across Meralco’s first three games in the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup. But coach Norman Black saw something beyond that.
“I was looking at the statistics and even though he hasn’t played very many minutes, he has played quite well in the minutes that he’s played,” the decorated bench tactician shared.
With that, Black decided to give the sophomore a chance on Tuesday. The Bolts were going up against the guard-oriented Magnolia in a battle of teams looking to get back in the win column.
“We really didn’t have any definition in our game, and I thought I would give him a chance to try to turn the game around, especially against a team like Magnolia, who is really guard-oriented,” he said.
Jackson did just that.
The Fil-Am guard from California came up with some of the game’s biggest shots. In particular, he made back-to-back three-pointers to turn a five-point deficit into a 91-90 lead for Meralco with 57.2 seconds left.
The game went into overtime, but the Bolts walked away with the 109-104 win. Chris Newsome shone the brightest in the endgame, but there’s no denying Jackson’s contributions.
The former PBA D-League standout finished with 10 points built on three triples, alongside three assists in the 13 minutes and 37 seconds he played — this, after averaging just 3.0 points prior.
Black, of course, is proud. And the Grand Slam-winning mentor strongly believes that Jackson, the Bolts’ fifth overall pick in the 2018 Rookie Draft, can only improve from here.
“He’s gonna be a good player,” he said.
“He’s still a young guy, he’s only 25 years old, so he’s still learning the game, he’s still learning the PBA. But I’m so happy for him that he was very productive tonight and he helped the team win.”