Aside from the loudness of the hostile pro-Barangay Ginebra San Miguel crowd that filled up the Ynares Center in Game Four of the 2018 PBA Governors’ Cup semis Friday, Jio Jalalon’s ears were also ravaged by the referee’s whistle.
The Magnolia Hotshots point guard was submerged in foul trouble. He already had three personal fouls in the first quarter alone. Then he moved to the brink of being disqualified from the match when he got his fifth foul in the third.
“Wala tayo magagawa kung foul trouble. Ganun eh,” said Jalalon, whose teammate and senior Mark Barroca was also hounded with five personal fouls.
“Iniisip ko nga na bahala na ako na lang yung mawala, ‘wag lang si kuya Mark.”
The Arellano Chief, however, had the last laugh.
Jalalon joined hands with Romeo Travis and Paul Lee down the stretch, sinking all of his four pressure-packed free throws to help the Hotshots come back from five points down with 2:17 left en route to a 112-108 victory.
Magnolia has ousted Ginebra from their two-year reign in the Governors’ Cup.
“Yung mga teammate ko yung naririnig ko lagi sa tenga ko – nakita ko yung oras, yung score – i-shoot mo lang yung free throw. Yung last two free throws, may kaba. Sobrang intense ng game,” said Jalalon, who finished with nine points.
“Inisip ko na lang na kailangan ko mashoot ‘to para makapahinga na kami.”
Jalalon breathed a huge sigh of relief when the final buzzer sounded. For the team, Friday’s win meant so much, as it also atoned for their 2017 Philippine Cup semis heartbreak where they blew a 2-0 lead and lost in seven games.
“Sa wakas nakahinga na ng maayos. Dadaan talaga kami sa butas ng karayom. Lahat ng coaches sinasabi samin na hindi ganun kadali yung game ‘pag Ginebra yung katapat,” said the 26-year-old sophomore.
“Pasalamat kami kay Lord binigay niya ‘to.”