Jio Jalalon builds case for No. 1 selection by standing out in pre-draft mini tournament
Gilas cadet Jio Jalalon goes for a layup during a mini tournament at the end of the PBA Rookie Draft Combine. Jerome Ascano

IT was Jio Jalalon's turn to stand out on Day Two of the PBA Draft Combine as he led his team to the title in the mini tournament.

After Mac Belo on Day One, Jalalon, another expected lottery pick in the Gilas draft, validated his status by steering Team E to a 55-51 overtime win in the finale against Team C.

The Arellano star scored nine points before dishing out a bullet to Jammer Jamito for the exclamation basket to take home the MVP honor and share the P50,000 prize.

Jalalon joined the mythical team with teammates Jamito and Joseph Eriobu, and Reden Celda and Mike Tolomia.

Ael Banal also caught fire with two three-pointers that gave them separation, while Eriobu forced overtime by scoring a putback at the buzzer and adding a free-throw conversion to complete the three-point play for Team E, also composed of Jovit dela Cruz and Charley Caluya, who, however, was advised to skip the tournament.

That left the champion team without a sub the entire tourney, but still good enough to beat Team F, 41-34, in the eliminations, then Team G, led by Tolomia, 46-45, in the semifinals.

“Nung una pa lang, gusto talaga nila manalo at mag-champion at sabi nila kailangan din talaga nila, so sabi ko, sige, tulong-tulong tayo dito kahit lima lang kami,” Jalalon said.

“Kailangan (ko sila hanapin),” he added. “Hindi naman pwede na ako lang mag-isa, so kailangan din na nandun rin sila.”

 

The scores: 

Team E 55 - Jamito 18, Banal 15, Jalalon 9, Eriobu 9, Dela Cruz 4

Team C 51 - Celda 15, Ablaza 11, Hernandez 8, Asuncion 6, Belleza 6, Javillonar 5

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos