Meralco finds salvation in Salvacion
MANILA, Philippines—Veteran swingman Sunday Salvacion knew he’ll be ready once his number gets called.
He also knew another thing late in Meralco’s win over GlobalPort Sunday night.
“When I saw the ball straight, I told myself it will go in,” Salvacion said in Filipino as he reenacts his buzzer-beating off-the-glass triple that gave Meralco a much-needed win just outside their dugout.
“It was like a Hollywood script,” said head coach Ryan Gregorio, moments after the Bolts rallied from 17 down to edge GlobalPort in a thriller. “We need games like this to unite out team and make us love one another.”
Salvacion, who sat on the bench in Meralco’s first four games of the conference, relished his rare playing time with a team-high 20 points on six-of-seven shooting from long range.
“I whispered to him I think yesterday, Sunday just be ready to play and he showed up,” said Gregorio.
Salvacion already had several game-winners before with former team Ginebra but this was different.
The one-time NCAA MVP with St. Benilde had no idea he was going to play, but nonetheless he hardly looked like someone who hasn’t logged on a minute of playing time for quite some time.
“I didn’t know I was going to play tonight but I was ready,” said Salvacion, who added that he’s been in the league long enough to feel discouraged by getting benched.
He played just four minutes in the first half, primarily just to contain GlobalPort’s explosive scorer Gary David.
But then the offense came as Meralco drew nine points from Salvacion in the second quarter to quickly trim a 17-point deficit to just five at the break.
“That’s what veterans come in to do, fantastic shot by Sunday,” added Gregorio.
“Thanks to coach Ryan for trusting me,” said Salvacion, who laid on the floor after hitting the three as his teammates mobbed him in celebration.