Black not surprised by Salva’s impressive night: ‘I’m used to him rising up in big games’
Meralco swingman Nico Salva’s career-high tying 20-point outing against Alaska on Tuesday night certainly came as a bolt from the blue in Game 2 of the 2018 PBA Governors’ Cup semifinals.
Salva’s impressive performance was almost a surprise to everyone but his head coach Norman Black, who had seen it way too many times before.
“I coached him in college so I’m kinda used to him being able to rise up in big moments, big games,” said Black.
“He really helped us out with his perimeter shooting tonight and hope he can continue in the future games. We need other guys also to step up in this series similar to the way how he stepped up tonight,” he added.
Salva was a key figure in the Ateneo Blue Eagles team that won five straight championships from 2008 to 2012 with Black at the helm.
The 28-year-old Salva, who bounced around the league after being selected as a late second round pick by GlobalPort (now NorthPort) in the 2013 PBA Rookie Draft, owed his offensive outburst to his teammates especially to prolific import Allen Durham.
“It helps that who I’m with on the floor were threats. Of course, they have to choose and most of the AD is there so they have two or three guys in there to guard him. Mostly kickouts from AD, then rotation and ball swing I get open,” Salva said.
Salva scored half of his points in the third quarter that kept the Bolts within striking distance after the Aces took a 20-point lead.
“I don’t know the final score of Nico Salva but it felt like he made every single shot that he took today. Nico was huge for them. I actually took a timeout to kinda yell at our guys and go, ‘I’m tired of Nico Salva just lighting us up. Are we going to rotate on the shooter or are we just going to let him shoot?” Compton said.
Salva hopes to sustain his form in the pivotal Game 3 on Thursday night.
“I just have to take what they’re giving. First game, I only had one shot because I had no looks. I’m not looking to take the most shots, but I’m just looking to do whatever the team needs whether it be rebounds, defense, hustle and if I have a shot, I’ll shoot.”
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