JIO Jalalon is raring to give the high-scoring Gilas Pilipinas backcourt a defensive edge off the bench as he’s two days away from realizing his dream of finally playing for the national senior team in the 2017 Seaba Championships.
The Star Hotshots rookie made his debut with Gilas as part of the cadets squad that won the same tournament two years ago. But what makes his second stint special is the opportunity to train, play, and learn alongside guards he looked up to like Jayson Castro.
"Nung bata pa ako, napapanood ko lang yan si Kuya Jayson at ngayon nakakasama ko na atsaka roommate ko pa. Ang laki lang na swerte sakin. Blessing ito ni God para sakin," Jalalon said.
"Sobrang excited na. Parang ngayon ko nalang makita na sobrang dami, na feel ko lahat ng Pilipino susuportahan kami," he added, anticipating a packed Araneta Coliseum in Gilas games starting on Friday.
Unlike the last Seaba tournament where he was one of the lead guards of the team, the former Arellano star fully embraces his back-up role behind proven scorers Castro and Terrence Romeo.
Jalalon is ready to do whatever's expected of him, and vowed to give his all in energizing the team especially on the defensive end when he comes off the bench.
"Ready lang ako sa likod nila palagi, kung ano yung hindi nila magagawa, defense ganun," Jalalon continued. "Alam ko silang dalawa scorers talaga e so ako yung nasa likod nila na talagang taga-depensa lang talaga."