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Thompson, Jalalon brace for Christmas Clasico

Remember the last time Scottie Thompson and Jio Jalalon faced off on the hard courts?

Good friends Scottie Thompson and Jiovani Jalalon gave the fans of collegiate basketball a classic the last time they squared off.

File-Photo-Gilas-Cadets-2015 Thompson, Jalalon brace for Christmas Clasico Basketball News PBA  - philippine sports news

Scottie Thompson and Jio Jalalon developed their friendship when they were part of the Gilas Cadets program (FIBA)

Last September 4, 2015, the Thompson’s University of Perpetual Help System DALTA Altas and Jalalon’s Arellano University Chiefs needed to take home wins in the heated NCAA Season 91 Final Four race. And when needed, the two stalwarts delivered.

The two battled it out, matching each other bucket-for-bucket, rebound-for-rebound, and assist-for-assist. 40 minutes was not enough in the epic encounter. In the end, it was Jalalon and the Chiefs who came out on top, 84-77.

Besides the game itself, what made the game an all-time classic was that both Jalalon and Thompson notched triple-doubles in the game. The Cagayan de Oro-native finished with 32 points, 10 rebounds, and 15 assists while Thompson notched 24 points, 12 rebounds, and 11 assists.

READ: The rarity of Jalalon and Thompson’s triple-doubles

On Christmas Day, the two will meet for the first time since that epic. Moreover, they are now part of the two biggest rivals in Philippines sports today.

And the two could not hide their excitement.

“Siguro maraming matutuwa kasi Manila Clasico eh. Maghahanda ako kung ano ang sasabihin ni coach para pagdating ng Sunday, handa ako,” the 24-year-old rookie of Star said.

“Oo, excited din ako na first time na sa big league na makakatapat ko ulit si Jiovani. [Very] excited,” the 23-year-old combo guard of Ginebra furthered.

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Thompson though knows that his team needs this team more. Currently, Ginebra is just 2-3 in the standings while Star is currently on a three-game run. He shared that it all starts with how they prepare themselves for the game.PBA-2016-Gov-Cup-Finals-G4-Ginebra-vs.-Meralco-Thompson Thompson, Jalalon brace for Christmas Clasico Basketball News PBA  - philippine sports news

“Talagang, lalo na kami, kailangan namin manalo. So kailangan siguro, yung mga mali namin ngayon, kailangan mai-tama namin against sa Star.

“Lalo na sa practice, kailangan doon namin simulan,” shared the former NCAA MVP who is averaging 7.6 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 5.0 assists.

Jalalon, on the other hand, vows to get better on defense especially if he is the one tasked to defend Thompson.2016-17-PBA-Philippine-Cup-Star-Hotshots-def-NLEX-Road-Warriors-Jio-Jalalon Thompson, Jalalon brace for Christmas Clasico Basketball News PBA  - philippine sports news

“Sobrang tagal. Si Scottie kasi sanay na sa PBA. Gagawin ko lang mag-focus sa depensa ko. Kung ano man ang sabihin ni coach Chito [Victolero], gawin ko lang,” stressed the Gilas cadet who is posting norms of 13.2 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 3.8 assists.

“Kung magkatapat naman kami, maglalaro kami ng maayos.”

But win or lose, even if things get heated between the two rivals, both men vow that the two will remain as friends.

“Kahit magkaibigan kami ni Scottie, pagdating sa court iba na siguro,” Jalalon said.

“Kahit anong mangyari, magkaibigan pa rin kami,” Thompson added.

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