Back in Game One of the 2018 PBA Governors’ Cup Finals, Jio Jalalon was like a fan as he marveled at the way Mark Barroca showed up late in the match to help the Magnolia Hotshots to a 100-84 win over the Alaska Aces.
“Nakita niya na eight points yung lamang, parang nagalit na siya. Doon nakita ko yung dating Mark Barroca. Noong high school pa lang ako napapanood ko sa TV. Seven straight points sa kanya?“ he gushed.
“Sabi ko, ‘iba’.”
Three nights later, Barroca was the one heaping praises on the sophomore.
Barroca witnessed how the 26-year-old Jalalon came through in the clutch – he scored five of the Hotshots’ last seven points inside the final 2:41 , to help Magnolia eke out a 77-71 victory for a 2-0 lead in their best-of-seven series.
The former Arellano University Chiefs star finished with seven points, seven rebounds, and seven assists – another near-triple-double performance, since he collected seven points, 12 boards, and nine dimes back in Game One.
“Sabi ko nga sa kanya, yung mga ganitong big moments, puwede siya mag-step up. Nakikita ko naman sa kanya grabe puso niya eh. Wala siyang takot. Parang hindi siya sophomore,” said the 32-year-old Barroca proudly.
“Masaya nga ako ‘pag kasama siya.”
But aside from Jalalon’s guts in the end-game, Barroca said that he also sees traces of leadership in the native of Cagayan De Oro, which should come in handy once Jalalon becomes one of the storied franchise’s seniors.
“Meron na talaga siyang desisyon na kaya niya na dalhin yung team. Binibigay namin sa kanya yun eh, kasi kailangan niya rin yun eh. Eventually magiging senior rin siya,” said Barroca, the team’s fifth overall pick in the 2011 Draft.
“Ganun naman yun eh, may darating na guards na bago, siya magiging gabay naman.”
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