Jio Jalalon refused to be held back by foul trouble to help Magnolia crawl back from 26 down and beat Barangay Ginebra to own another episode of their Manila Clasico rivalry in the PBA Season 48 Commissioner’s Cup, Sunday night.
The do-it-all guard had already incurred four personal fouls within the first three quarters, but that didn’t stop him from playing a key role in the Hotshots’ rally to eventually become the only unbeaten team in the conference.
“‘Di ko na iniisip ‘yung fouls,” he told reporters moments after the 93-91 win at the SMART Araneta Coliseum. “Gusto ko lang talagang manalo.”
Jalalon finished with 15 points, nine of which he made in the third quarter as Magnolia began its trek back after being down enormously.
He was actually whistled for his fifth foul with 2:25 remaining in the game while defending Stanley Pringle. But he wasn’t brought out of the game, and he never toned down on his aggressiveness on both ends either.
“Gusto kong dumepensa kasi gusto kong tulungan din ‘yung team na makabalik kami,” he said. “Hindi ko iniisip na kahit ma-foul o ma-fouled out ako, walang problema basta aggressive lang ako sa gagawin ko.
“Lalo nung sinabihan ako ni Coach nung pag-sub ko kay Kuya Paul na stay ka lang sa game. Bonus na lang sa akin kung anong nangyari roon sa court.”
The 31-year-old would eventually give his side more breathing room with 5.5 seconds left by splitting his charities to settle the eventual final count.
Whatever he was able to do in the epic comeback, Jalalon offered, was all thanks to Hotshots head coach Chito Victolero.
“Credit to Coach Chito talaga. Kasi halftime, sobrang nagwala talaga siya sa dugout namin,” he shared. “Na-remind lang talaga kami lahat. Kasi first and second, parang hindi Magnolia basketball yung ginagawa namin.
“Kanya-kanya kami — one pass, shot. Inaamin ko rin isa ako roon. ‘Yung favorite naman namin sa court, ‘yung depensa, parang nawala nung first and second.
“So, nung pag-remind sa amin ng mga coaches, lalo na si Coach Chito, nung nagalit siya, sinabi niya sa’min, kahit matalo kami, ‘yung character namin pakita lang namin. Nagising kaming lahat,” Jalalon closed.