Jio Jalalon could not help but look and sound like a fan when he was asked about the way Mark Barroca affected the Magnolia Hotshots in their 100-84 win over the Alaska Aces in Game One of the 2018 PBA Governors’ Cup Finals, Friday.
Jalalon, who is just 26 years old, witnessed how the 32-year-old strapped the Hotshots on his back. Barroca scored and assisted in their 9-0 run to close the door for the Aces, who knocked within eight with 4:23 left after going down by 21 early in the fourth.
“Grabe, grabe. Kasi nga yung nakita niya na eight points yung lamang, parang nagalit na siya. Doon nakita ko yung dating Mark Barroca, na noong high school pa lang ako napapanood ko sa TV,” said the native of Cagayan de Oro.
“Seven straight points sa kanya? Sabi ko, ‘iba’,” Jalalon added.
“Tsaka nakakahawa rin talaga si Kuya Mark, lalo kapag kami yung magkasabay dalawa. Ako nahahawa din talaga ako. Kung ano ginagawa niya, ginagawa ko din talaga.”
Jalalon himself had a splendid outing as well.
The sophomore point guard nearly had his second triple-double in the PBA, collecting seven points, 12 rebounds, and nine assists – with four steals – in the 33 minutes and four seconds he was used by coach Chito Victolero.
But more than the inspiration, it was his desire to step up and help his “kuyas” in their second Finals trip that boosted him, as he felt he hadn’t made the best abilities back in the 2018 Philippine Cup Finals.
The Hotshots lost that series to now four-time champs San Miguel Beermen, 1-4.
“Binigay ko lang talaga best ko kasi ito na yung second na Finals appearance ko. Yung una, versus San Miguel, ‘di ako nakatulong sa mga kuya ko,” Jalalon said.
“Ngayon, sabi ko nga, ibibigay ko best ko kahit anong mangyari.”