Jio Jalalon shrugged off a major injury scare and almost willed the Magnolia Hotshots to an escape act against fierce rivals Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, before eventually faltering in overtime, 93-97, in an epic 2019 PBA Philippine Cup edition of Manila Clasico, late Sunday night at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
Still, Jalalon was proud of the Hotshots’ gallant stand, especially after clawing back from a 15-point deficit early in the first half.
The 5-foot-9 floor general was the biggest key in their comeback. He scored all of his 22 points in the second half – including the game-tying Hail Mary in the last 4.2 seconds to force extra time.
“Wala. Para sa kanila talaga yung game. Ang pinag-usapan lang naman talaga namin dito, yung effort eh. Kung paano kami maglaro. Nagawa namin yung effort so para sa Ginebra talaga yung game,” said the former Arellano University standout, who also added six rebounds, two assists and three steals.
“Kasi nung first and second quarter, sobrang gigil eh. Yung gigil tsaka excitement, nandoon. Kinausap din ako ni kuya PJ [Simon]. Ayun, dinadahan-dahan ko lang sarili ko na makabalik ako. Inuna ko yung defense ko tapos dumating yung offense ko.”
Jalalon’s outburst came at the heels of his scoreless first half, and a massive injury scare at the 3:43 mark of the third quarter after a hard fall during his drive against good friend Scottie Thompson.
Right now, Jalalon admitted that he still hurt from that fall. Still, he assured that he’s alright and will only need rest before their Wednesday’s match against Northport.
“Ang sama nung bagsak ko. Nawala ako sa balance. Medyo masakit na ngayon so kailangan kong ipahinga,” said Jalalon on his left upper body.
Now, Jalalon focus is only on Magnolia’s next crucial game. Their backs are already against the wall after a nail-biting loss to Ginebra, which he hopes will serve as a good lesson and inspiration for their last playoff hurrah.
“Sobrang ganda rin talaga ng laban. Walang nagpapatalo. Yun lang naman, trabaho lang. Sana naging maganda rin yun para sa manonood – para makabalik din yung mga fans sa PBA, para maganda yung laban sa PBA.”