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Jalalon rises to unfamiliar challenge, neutralizes explosive debut of Chaffee

Jio Jalalon was one of those who made it difficult for Stokley Chaffee, Jr. in Magnolia’s eventual win over NLEX in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup, Friday.

The do-it-all guard admitted that the debuting import was quite a handful especially in the first half, but the Hotshots eventually found a way to limit him that ultimately enabled the top-seeded crew to break the game wide open.

“Hindi kasi namin siya ma-scout noong una kasi ‘yung first and second, parang nabigla din kami sa laro kasi explosive pala talaga,” said Jalalon as Chaffee already registered a double-double of 13 points and 14 rebounds.

Serving as a representation of how Magnolia figured out Thomas Robinson’s replacement happened at the 6:32-mark of the third quarter.

There, Jalalon quickly noticed Chaffee’s fake handoff and anticipated his drive to the left, then stripped the ball away from him.

It led to a transition opportunity for the Hotshots, which they didn’t waste as Jalalon fed Barroca to finish the break with a deuce.

“Binabasa ko noong una pa lang. Sabi ko ‘pag tumalikod, aagawan ko kasi nga hindi niya ako nakikita kasi nagha-handoff siya sa kabila,” he said.

That was arguably the play of the game and it served symbolic as well of the way Jalalon impacted the game especially in that particular quarter, where he sparked the telling 15-0 run en route to a 68-56 lead to take control.

The former Gilas stalwart eventually finished with 11 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists plus a game-high four steals in the 99-72 victory, which stretched their unbeaten run to five in the season-opening conference.

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Like what he’s done and offered many times in the past, it was simply about fulfilling his role as the Hotshots’ energizer, Jalalon said.

“Noong first half pa lang, kinukuha ko na ‘yung energy ko but hindi ko lang ma-shoot ‘yung bola,” said the 2022 PBA Press Corps Defensive Player of the Year.

“Nag-settle down ako noong second half. Dinahan-dahan ko lang, nag-execute lang ako. Tina-timing ko lang kung paano ako da-drive sa rim. Binibigyan ko lang ng energy ‘yung mga kasama ko para makatulong ako sa kanila.”

Magnolia has remained on top of the standings with a pristine record thanks to Jalalon but he and the squad refuses to be contented whatsoever.

“Alam namin na kami na ‘yung target ngayon, so kailangan lahat ng game, respect sa kalaban,” he said. “Hindi kami magre-relax. ‘Yun naman ‘yung pinag-usapan namin since Day 1 pa ng ensayo namin. Grind lang nang grind.”

Written By

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

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