JIO Jalalon wasn’t about to disappoint the Magnolia Hotshots as he made two pressure-packed free throws that secured a 94-91 win over Rain or Shine in Game 4 of their PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series.
Jalalon said practice makes perfect as the third-year guard went 5-of-6 from the free throw line, none more important than the last two which he sank with 3.1 seconds left to give Magnolia a three-point lead.
“Medyo may kaba ng kaunti, pero pina-practice ko naman yun lagi,” said Jalalon. “Nasa isip ko lang na i-enjoy lang itong tira na ito kasi wala namang bantay.”
“Kung hindi ko na-shoot yun, yari ako sa mga teammates ko."
Jalalon actually shot better from the foul line than from the field, where he went 3-of-12 overall to finish with 12 points. He also had four rebounds and four assists in the win that levelled the series at two-games apiece.
But the Hotshots almost blew it, losing a 21-point second quarter lead and heaving a sigh of relief after James Yap missed a potential game-tying three-pointer at the buzzer.
Jalalon, who had to tend the Magnolia backcourt entering the homestretch after veteran point guard Mark Barroca fouled out in the fourth quarter, said fatigue simply caught up with the Hotshots by that time.
“Feel ko sa sarili ko napagod rin kami,” he said. “At tsaka hindi namin natapatan yung four-guard nila.”
But with the all-important Game 5 coming up on Wednesday at the Astrodome, Jalalon said there is certainly no rest for the weary.
“Back to zero na. Naka-tie kami so hindi kami magre-relax nito,” he said.