JERSEY STORY: CDO native Jio Jalalon wears No. 6 to keep his family close to his heart
“Masaya kasi kahit wala ako sa tabi nila, lagi silang sumusuporta sa akin sa TV,” says Arellano star Jio Jalalon of his family back in Cagayan de Oro. Jaime Campos

THEY'RE more than mere numbers, and there's more to them than meets the eye.

From important dates in their lives to lucky numbers to a happy coincidence, there's usually a compelling story behind the numbers your favorite players wear on their backs.

And more often that not, these stories will either surprise you or make you feel closer to your sports heroes.

Here's No. 18 of our Jersey Story Series:

JIO Jalalon may be far away from home, but he’s never homesick once he puts on the Arellano jersey.

‘The Bus Driver’ is undoubtedly tearing it up for the preseason favorites Arellano Chiefs in NCAA Season 92, averaging MVP-worthy numbers of 20.3 points, 5.5 rebounds, 8.5 assists, and 2.8 steals through four games.

One reason behind Jalalon’s stellar play is his stints with the Gilas cadets squad in regional competitions, even training with the Gilas pool and measuring up against the country’s best guards like Jayson Castro, who the Cagayan De Oro City native has been compared to for his ‘The Blur’-like moves.

Other coaches, including Gilas mentor Tab Baldwin and San Beda’s Jamike Jarin, have offered praises for Jalalon’s game, with Jarin even calling him ‘the best point guard in amateur basketball today.’

Winning Arellano’s first NCAA title should be enough motivation for Jalalon, but he’s even more inspired as he carries his family on the court every game, particularly when he wears his jersey.

Unlike others who pick jersey numbers based on players they idolize, Jalalon chose No. 6 to honor his family as they are six siblings in all. His success is driven by inspiration from his family, who Jalalon said has been supporting him through thick and thin.

“Masaya kasi kahit wala ako sa tabi nila, lagi silang sumusuporta sa akin sa TV,” said Jalalon, who is the third oldest among the siblings.

Jalalon has definitely gone a long way since his early days with the Informatics basketball team to becoming one of the stars, not just of Arellano, but potentially of Philippine basketball’s future national team. And wherever his rising basketball career takes him, so long as he wears his No. 6 jersey, home is always with him.