IT was an occasion Jio Jalalon never foresaw ever happening.
But it did in this year’s PBA All-Star game.
Besides notching his second straight triple-double in the league’s annual spectacle, the 30th edition of the festivity also saw Jalalon playing together for the first with college coach Jerry Codiñera.
The two former Arellano stalwarts found themselves donning the South All-Star jersey in the featured match against the North, which they unfortunately lost, 185-170, before the crowd at the jampacked Calasiao Sports Complex.
Jalalon finished with a triple-double for the second straight All-Star game with 15 points, 11 rebounds, and 12 assists.
More than the numbers, though, it was the once-in-a-lifetime chance to play with Codiñera that thrilled him the most.
“Sobrang saya nung nagkita kami, magkasabay pa nga kaming ipinasok,” said Jalalon. “Naalala ko bigla na ang tagal namin nagkasama dati.”
The partnership saw the two making the NCAA Finals twice, but both times, the Chiefs lost the title against the San Beda Red Lions.
The two hardly had a chance to see each other since Jalalon left Arellano three years ago to apply for the PBA draft.
So when the opportunity to be together inside the court for the first time came, the shifty guard tried to feed off his former coach.
“Sabi ko sa sarili ko ako naman ang papasa sa coach ko, kasi dati nung naglalaro ako sa kanya, tinuturuan niya lang ako. Ngayon ako na ang magpapasa sa kanya,” said the pride of Cagayan de Oro.
Unfortunately, Codiñera, voted among the 25 PBA Greatest Players, ended up scoreless in the eight minutes that he played as one of two Legends included in the South line-up along with former frontcourt partner Alvin Patrimonio.
That didn’t take away, though, the joy felt by Jalalon just being in the court with his former college mentor.
“Sobrang saya ko talaga,” he stressed.