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Jalalon proves Victolero’s gamble worth it with takeover performance

Jio Jalalon washed away whatever qualms coach Chito Victolero had with a big-time outing to send Magnolia back to the PBA Philippine Cup semis, Sunday.

The do-it-all guard helped the Hotshots send their do-or-die quarterfinal duel with NLEX to overtime, and then took over afterward by scoring nearly half of his side’s output in the extra period to deliver the 112-106 victory.

He scored seven of the team’s 15 points there on the way to finishing with 16 points, seven rebounds, six assists, and two steals in 31 minutes.

Jalalon couldn’t be any more thankful to be given an opportunity after being ‘forgotten’ for a long while during the fourth quarter.

“Sobrang nagpapasalamat ako kila Coach, kasi noong fourth quarter, two minutes, sabi ko sa mga coaches, ‘Coach, gusto ko mag-laro,” he said after the match at the Mall of Asia Arena.

“Kasi nga, gigil na gigil na ako sa labas.”

The 29-year-old was brought back into the game with exactly a minute left in regulation, but not before sitting on the bench for nearly eight minutes — he was subbed out at the 8:46-mark of the fourth during a dead ball situation.

Not that he was forgotten totally. Victolero admitted that he found it difficult to plug Jalalon in primarily due to match-up woes, with the Road Warriors having the edge in size with Kevin Alas and Calvin Oftana, to name some.

2022-PBA-Philippine-Cup-Quarterfinals-Magnolia-vs-NLEX-Jio-Jalalon Jalalon proves Victolero's gamble worth it with takeover performance Basketball News PBA  - philippine sports news

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“Hindi ko naman siya nakalimutan,” the champion bench tactician said. “I have a bad match-up against NLEX. All of their wing guys, guards are tall, so we have a hard time matching up on Oftana, on [Don] Trollano.

“That’s why we cannot do the three-guard combination with Paul, Mark, and Jio, because we have a bad match-up against NLEX. And that’s why during the flow of the game, we can’t have that combination.”

Then again, all of those worries went away as the Arellano product showed that he made the best decision to go to him in a stretch so crucial.

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After Paul Lee tied the game at 97-all with 11.1 seconds left in regulation, Jalalon then came through with an important stop, preventing Oftana from attacking the rim by stripping the ball away from him with 2.7 ticks left.

He then showed his offensive wares in OT, scoring and assisting in that telling 11-3 run for the 108-100 lead with 1:15 left in the game.

Jalalon even nailed a miracle shot during that spree: a one-handed three-pointer to beat the shot clock with 1:46 to go that saw him fold his hands while looking up to the sky, thanking the heavens for that bucket.

“Noong ginamit ko si Jio, he’s ready,” said Victolero.

“Sa mata pa lang, parang tinitingnan niya ako: ‘Coach, magsisisi ka kasi ‘di mo ako ginagamit.'”

The second game of each PBA gameday is live-streamed on SMART Sports.

Written By

Oftentimes on the sidelines. Forever a student of the game. Morayta-bred.

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