Jalalon proves he's more than just defense for Magnolia in Game 3 outburst
MANILA, Philippines – In a semifinals series headlined by the matchup between Paul Lee and Kiefer Ravena, Jio Jalalon is slowly stealing the spotlight.
Jalalon had one of his best nights in his young PBA career as he torched the NLEX Road Warriors with 25 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, and two steals to power the Magnolia Hotshots to a 106-99 Game 3 win Wednesday, March 14.
The sophomore guard was basically unstoppable, having his way from the get-go and finishing with an ultra-efficient 10-of-13 shooting clip from the field.
But what stood out the most in Jalalon's numbers is his 3-point shooting percentage.
Known as a defensive-minded point guard, Jalalon proved he can make an impact from long range as well by drilling in 4 of his 5 triples against the Hotshots.
"Grabe 'yung pinapractice ko talaga kasi siyempre halos lahat ng point guard nakakatira ng 3 points. Iniisip ko sa sarili ko na kailangan ko pagtrabahahuan 'to," said Jalalon.
(I have been practicing really hard since almost every point guard can shoot the 3-pointer. I've been thinking that I really need to work on that.)
That wasn't the case in Magnolia's 87-88 Game 1 loss on March 10, after Jalalon finished with zero points on a 0-of-6 shooting, missing all of his 3 attempts from distance.
However, with Justin Melton ruled out for Game 2 due to a strained hamstring, Jalalon has been on a completely different level as he took over Melton's starting role.
On March 12, the 25-year-old registered a near-triple-double of 9 points, 10 assists, and 6 rebounds while helping contain Kiefer Ravena to 9 points en route to Magnolia's 99-84 Game 2 triumph.
Although his back-to-back stellar performances is primarily his doing, Jalalon is also thankful to head coach Chito Victolero for boosting his confidence.
"Noong pagkatapos ng game sa MoA (Mall of Asia Arena), minessage niya (Victolero) ako. Doon tumaas 'yung tingin ko sa sarili ko (After the game in MoA, he messaged me. That was when my confidence rose)," Jalalon said.
"Pasalamat ako kay coach Chito na binigyan niya ako ng tiwala. Nagagawa ko na rin 'yung talent ko dito sa semis, sana magtuloy-tuloy pa 'to (I thank coach Chito for giving me his trust. Finally, I'm showing my talent here in the semis and I hope it continues}," he added.
Jalalon and the Hotshots will try to go up 3-1 in the best-of-7 semifinals series when they meet NLEX again for Game 5 on Friday, March 16, at the Mall of Asia Arena. – Rappler.com