It cannot be stressed enough, but Game Two of the 2018 PBA Governors’ Cup Finals was a dogfight.
The final frame of the Magnolia Hotshots-Alaska Aces tilt was a grind, as both teams struggled to even hoist a shot up.
Somebody had to take the risk – and the ultimate risk-taker in the contest was Hotshots sophomore Jio Jalalon.
The 5-foot-9 guard was shooting just 1-of-7 from the field, but the Hotshots badly needed the points.
“Siguro nasa isip ko sa sarili ko, bahala na eh. Gamble at gamble na lang yung ginagawa namin.
“Kaming dalawa ni Kuya Mark [Barroca], nag-usap na lang kami kung ano yung gagawin,” recalled the native of Cagayan de Oro. “Pine-pressure niya si Banchero, tapos ako, hinihintay ko na rin yung gagawin niya. Nagbabasahan lang kami ni Kuya Mark”
With 2:41 left, Jalalon faked out his defender and drove through the lane. Before traffic arrived, he threw up a leaner that turned into the game’s go-ahead bucket, 73-71.
The game wasn’t over yet. But all Jalalon and Magnolia needed to do was make stops. And make stops they did, as the Aces could not get a clean shot up to close out the game, 77-71.
“Pero kanina, nandun yung team na gusto talagang manalo. Kasi nga, hindi kami nakakalamang. One-point ng one-point lang. Kaya yun tiniis namin lahat at sinabi namin sa sarili namin, ‘Kaya namin ito!'” he added, as Magnolia trailed for all but four minutes and 54 seconds.
But after a tedious win like this, Jalalon and his team can’t rest on their laurels. Come Sunday, they are expecting another nip-and-tuck affair at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.
“Sobrang hindi ganun kadali yung mga ganitong klaseng laro. Parang alam mo yung pagod kasi one stop lang puwede ka na matalo. Nasa isip namin, basta manalo parang mawawala yung pagod namin,” expressed the product of Arellano University, who is averaging 7.0 points, 9.5 rebounds, 8.0 assists, and 3.5 assists so far in the series.
“Hindi ganun kadali yung series na ito. Kailangan trabaho talaga. Hindi pa tapos yung series kahit naka-2-0 kami. Hindi kami puwede mag-celebrate kaya pagdating bukas trabaho ulit.”