EVERYBODY loves a winner, especially if it’s the PBA’s most popular team that just ended a long title drought.
Count top draft prospect Jio Jalalon among the aspirants wishing to join Barangay Ginebra.
However, the former Arellano University star admits that he might not get his wish to be picked by the Gin Kings in the PBA Draft on Sunday at Robinson Place Manila.
“Gusto ko mag-Ginebra,” the college superstar admitted while on a break from the activities on Day One of the Gatorade Draft Combine event supported by Under Armour and Tag Huer on Wednesday at the Hoops Center.
“Gusto ko si coach Tim Cone talaga,” the Cagayan de Oro pride added. “Nung pagpunta ko dito sa college, lagi akong nanonood, Purefoods pa dati, lagi kong tinitingnan (si coach Tim).”
The same wish was granted to fellow NCAA product and pro rookie sensation Scottie Thompson, somebody Jalalon wants to team up with in the Ginebra camp.
“Nung pagkatapos nung nag-champion sila, nag-usap kami, sabi ko, sobrang swerte niya na nag-champion na siya kahit hindi siya nag-champion sa college,” Jalalon recounted.
“At sabi niya sana mapunta nga daw ako doon (sa Ginebra),” he added. “Sana.”
But Jalalon is expected to be long gone by the time Ginebra makes its selection in the special draft. As it stands, there will be nine teams picking before the Gin Kings make theirs, although the league has yet to announce the official draft order pending a board meeting on Thursday.
Still, Jalalon is ready for whichever club takes him.
“Sabi ko sa sarili ko, bahala na kung anong mangyari kasi hindi mo naman masabi kung sino talaga ang kukuha sa’yo,” the spitfire playmaker said. “Kung anong team mapupuntahan ko, go lang ako. Kung gagamitin nila ako, ipapakita ko sa kanila kung ano ang mayroon ako.”
Jalalon still had a year of eligibility left at Arellano, but chose to forego it for the sake of his family.
“Sabi naman nila (Arellano) na decision ko naman daw, so wala na silang magagawa,” he said. “Sabi ko naman, gusto ko na din tulungan yung family ko.”
“Siguro nabigay ko na (lahat sa Arellano), pero hindi pa actually yung nakuha yung goal namin, so nag-worry rin ako dun,” he added. “Inisip ko na lang talaga yung sarili ko at family ko.”