Star coach Victolero glad to finally nab Jio Jalalon after failing to recruit him for Mapua
New Star coach Chito Victolero tried to recruit a young Jio Jalalon for Mapua years ago. He ended up playing for the Arellano Chiefs. Jerome Ascano

WHAT Chito Victolero failed to do as a college coach, he accomplished in the pros.

The new Star coach was glad to finally nab Jio Jalalon in the special rookie draft on Sunday night after the NCAA superstar slipped away from his grasp in the past.

Victolero has, for so long, seen the potential in Jalalon that he tried to lure the Cagayan de Oro native to Mapua back when the coach was still in charge of the Cardinals program.

“Nung nasa Mapua ako, I tried to recruit Jio but he chose Arellano,” Victolero bared after the draft. “Pero okay din naman at maganda ang pinakita nya doon. Now that I had a chance to get him, who I think he's the best point guard in the amateurs, ginrab na namin yung opportunity na iyon.”

Victolero wanted Jalalon so badly that he didn’t care that the Hotshots’ backcourt logjam worsened as the latter joined RR Garcia, Mark Barroca, Justin Melton, and fellow newcomer Paul Lee.

“Sobra nga kami sa guards pero I think magagawan naman natin ng paraan yun,” said Victolero, who already made the first step in unclogging the glut by sending point forward Alex Mallari to Mahindra for Aldrech Ramos on Monday.

[See Star declogs backcourt by trading Alex Mallari to Mahindra for Aldrech Ramos]

Victolero doesn’t see Jalalon competing with his fellow point guards on offense.

“Ang maganda lang doon is we can use Jio based sa style nya na defensive guard and he could also contribute sa offense sa passing, rebounding nya,” Victolero said. “Madami syang makocontribute sa amin. High energy sya at hustle nya, halos yun ang hinahanap namin at makakapagbigay ng ibang tempo at impact sa team namin.”

“I think based sa mga nakikita kong laro nila at sistema na ginagamit ko, I think bagay sila sa ginagawa namin. I'm very happy, lalo na kay Jio,” added Victolero, who also picked former University of the East slotman Chris Javier from the regular draft.

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Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos