JIOVANI Jalalon immediately made his presence felt for Jumbo Plastic Linoleum as the Giants stunned Hapee, 87-83, on Monday to stay alive in the quarterfinals of the PBA D-League Foundation Cup at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
Jalalon had 11 points and seven assists in his first game for Jumbo Plastic, helping the fifth-seeded Giants force a knockout game for a semifinal slot.
Fourth-ranked Hapee, which holds a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals, is now in danger of making an early exit after winning the Aspirants Cup title.
Jalalon intercepted a pass by Ola Adeogun and dished out an assist to Glenn Khobuntin that gave the Giants an 83-82 lead with 20.9 seconds left.
The Arellano guard who is also a member of the national team bound for the Southeast Asian Games sank two free throws following a Hapee miss with eight seconds remaining to make it 85-82, the cushion proving to be enough as the Fresh Fighters failed to score a tying basket.
Jalalon, who earlier played for also-ran KerMix, was signed by Jumbo Plastic before the May 29 deadline for changing of line-ups.
Jumbo Plastic led by 11 points entering the fourth after outscoring Hapee, 33-13, but the Fresh Fighters were still able to take a four-point lead, 82-78, with 43.5 seconds to play.
Khobuntin and Jaymo Eguilos had 13 points each while Tristan Perez, Philip Paniamogan, and new recruit Khazim Mirza had 12 each for the Giants.
Art de la Cruz had a game-high 26 points, while Adeogun had 17 points and 18 rebounds for Hapee.
Jumbo Plastic (87)—Eguilos 13, Khobuntin 13, Perez 12, Paniamogan 12, Mirza 12, Jalalon 11, Villamor 5, Avillanoza 5, Mandani 4, Sanga 0, Arellano 0.
Hapee (83)—Dela Cruz 26, Amer 21, Adeogun 17, Newsome 6, Rosario 4, Elorde 3, Villahermosa 3, Koga 2, Sorela 1, Mendoza 0, Long 0.
Quarterscores: 19-17; 34-43; 67-56; 87-83.