'Overeager' Jio Jalalon regrets not being at his best in high-profile Christmas match
Jio Jalalon failed to score in his first Ginebra-Star game. Jaime Campos

BOCAUE, Bulacan – Jio Jalalon admitted overeagerness and a little bit of pressure got the better of him as he played for the first time in a Barangay Ginebra-Star encounter in the PBA.

The highly-touted rookie guard never got on track offensively as he was held scoreless in 24 minutes in an 86-79 loss by the Hotshots on Sunday night at the Philippine Arena here.

He ended up going 0-for-10 from the field.

While he made up for his poor scoring by snaring six rebounds and dishing off five assists, the former star player of Arellano was hard on himself following the loss than snapped the Hotshots’ three-game win streak.

“Nanggigil din ako nung una,” said Jalalon after going scoreless in a game in a long while. “Hindi ako ready sa pagpasok ko. Parang gusto ko makabawi agad.”

Jalalon said defense remains his priority, but he could have really contributed on offense since he averaged 13.2 points (and 5.6 rebounds) going into the highly-anticipated match played in the biggest indoor arena in the world.

Star coach Chito Victolero wasn’t hard on him at the end, but reminded him to be mentally prepared in every game.

“Sabi niya, ‘O alam mo na,’” he recalled Victolero’s words  “Lesson learned nga para sa akin ito kasi Manila Clasico pa. Excited masyado, Yun ang natutunan ko.”

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At the same time, the Gilas cadet member said the presence of college rival Scottie Thompson at Ginebra contributed to him being shut out for the first time in his career.

“Maganda yun para sa akin, siyempre kabantayan ko si Scottie e,” he said of the sophomore guard out of Perpetual Help.

He vowed to do better the next time he and the Hotshots meet Thompson and the Kings anew.

“Iniisip ko yun. Paghahandaan ko ulit yun kung anuman ang mangyari,” he said

Asked if Thompson told anything to him inside the court in their first meeting as pros, Jalalon said there was none.

But pressed further, Jalalon curtly replied, “binati niya ako (ng Merry Christmas).” 

Follow the writer on Twitter: @gerardmos