HE may have had a solid debut, but Jio Jalalon still found out how different the quality of play is in the PBA from the college ranks.
The cat-quick Star rookie introduced himself in the pros by putting up 11 points, five boards, one assist, and one steal against three turnovers in almost 22 minutes off the bench in the Hotshots’ 88-96 loss to San Miguel in their Philippine Cup opener on Sunday night.
Still, Jalalon said he realized how superior the play is in the pro ranks, where players are faster and stronger.
“Grabe, sobrang nakakagulat yung mga players kasi siyempre, lahat ng players dito, puro smart. ‘Di mo madadaan sa bilis,” the former NCAA star out of Arellano said. “Kailangan mo rin mag-isip kung anong gagawin mo.”
“Sobrang hindi ka talaga makaka-drive kasi talagang ang lalaki eh, lalo na si kuya (Alex) Cabagnot,” he added. “Akala ko, maiiwan ko, pero ‘di talaga.”
Nevertheless, Jalalon loved every minute he was on the floor in his first game in Asia’s first professional league.
“Sobra-sobrang sarap maglaro sa PBA talaga,” the Cagayan de Oro native said. “Lahat ng mga player dito, nandun na lahat eh, smart players. Kailangan mo lang talaga din silang depensahan.”
Jalalon admitted he naturally had rookie jitters, before eventually settling down at the forefront of the Hotshots’ suffocating defense that gave the Beermen fits.
“Kailangan din ng team (dumepensa),” Jalalon said. “Yun lang din naman iniisip ko, na kailangan kong dumepensa talaga. Siguro, puro error lang talaga. Parang bagong mukha, ‘di pa magkakakilala, kailangan naming mag-adjust.”
“Sana nga pagdating sa next game, makaka-adjust din talaga ako sa defense,” he added. “Kasi ngayon, nangangapa pa talaga ako. Kelangan kong pagpraktisan pa talaga.”