JIO Jalalon and Scottie Thompson relived their college rivalry by taking it to the next level on Sunday night in a gripping PBA Philippine Cup game between Barangay Ginebra and Magnolia at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Thompson had the last laugh in the face-off as he shook off cramps to steer the Kings to a hard-earned 97-93 overtime win over the Hotshots by scoring a career-high 27 points, grabbing 11 rebounds, and dishing off five assists.
Jalalon didn’t do bad either as he exploded for 22 second-half points including two booming triples in the waning seconds of regulation that set the stage for extra time.
The Magnolia guard added six rebounds and two assists in a losing cause for the Hotshots.
But Jalalon was quick to play down the personal competition, stressing it was really more of a battle between two teams badly wanting to win.
“Laro lang din talaga. Pareho lang naman kaming nagtatrabaho lang,” said Jalalon. “Maganda naman yung laban kasi walang gustong matalo.”
Jalalon and Thompson taking charge for their respective teams brought back memories of their personal rivalry in the NCAA when the two were still playing for Arellano and University of Perpetual Help, respectively.
Their last game in college was a memorable one, with each player notching triple-doubles. Jalalon got the better end of that match-up after the Chiefs won in overtime, 84-77.
Jalalon tried to repeat the magic by scoring the Hotshots’ last six points inside the final minute to tie the game at 85-all and forge overtime period.
But the Hotshots fell short in the end as Jalalon committed his sixth personal foul in the extra period while Thompson secured the Kings’ fifth win in eight outings by hitting a big three-pointer and setting up Japeth Aguilar for adunk.
“Para sa kanila talaga 'yung game,” admitted Jalalon. “Ang pinag-usapan lang naman namin dito is yung effort, kung paano kami maglaro. And nagawa naman namin yung effort, so para sa Ginebra talaga yung game.”
But thanks to these two gutsy college rivals, this local 'Clasico,' a misnomer really considering the magnitude of the real Clasico between Real Madrid and Barcelona, lived up to the billing.
At one point in the third quarter, Jalalon suffered a bad fall after driving hard to the basket. And guess with whom he collided while in mid-air that forced him to be out of balance?
“Ang sama ng (bagsak), nawala ako sa balance. Medyo masakit nga ngayon kaya kailangan ipahinga,” he said while pointing to his hip area.
And just like his rivalry with Scottie, Jalalon expectedly downplayed the collision as mere contact between two very competitive players.