Jio Jalalon aspires to be a better defender after first face-off with Terrence Romeo
Jio Jalalon struggled to defend Terrence Romeo and Stanley Pringle. Dante Peralta

JIO Jalalon admitted his first showdown with former UAAP star Terrence Romeo was a reality check.

Ranged against Romeo and equally prolific partner Stanley Pringle, the celebrated rookie out of Arellano University struggled to find the basket - and, worse, had a hard time keeping up with the GlobalPort backcourt duo on defense.

"Sobrang nahirapan ako kay Kuya Terrence," said the Star freshman, moments after the Hotshots suffered their second loss in as many games in the PBA Philippine Cup, 84-91, at the hands of GlobalPort.

[See Romeo says he's now committed to share the ball with open teammates]

Romeo struggled on 5-of-17 shooting from the field, but the flamboyant guard still had 18 points and eight assists against Star's defense. Pringle added a team-high 24 points.

Those numbers tell Jalalon that he has to become a better defensive player if he is to shine in the PBA.

"Siguro kailangan ko talaga mag-adjust kasi ganito pala talaga kalala dito sa PBA," Jalalon, who finished with 13 points on 5-of-13 shooting, said of the level of competition in the pro league.

"Kailangan ko mag-adjust kung paano maging defender talaga," Jalalon added.

Still, the former NCAA star and now Gilas Pilipinas cadet said he was happy to be playing against top pros like Romeo and Pringle.

"(Reality check?) sobra, pero sobrang saya ko rin na nakalaban ko sila," he said.

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