REGISTERING triple-double seems to be a common thing for Arellano’s Jiovani Jalalon, so much so that he has drawn comparisons with no less than two basketball legends.
After the cat-quick guard came away with 18 points, 10 rebounds, and 17 assists to lead the Chiefs to an 86-76 win over San Sebastian in NCAA Season 91 on Friday, his coach Jerry Codinera could not help but compare his star player to icons Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson and Ramon Fernandez.
“Magic Johnson na lang gumagawa niyan tsaka si Don Ramon,” said Codinera, referring to the LA Lakers all-time great and the four-time PBA MVP, who served as his coach during his rookie year as a pro with Purefoods.
With Jalalon within earshot during the post-game interview, Codinera admitted he himself at times can’t help but marvel at how easy triple-doubles has become for the all-around guard.
“For a college player, minsan parang fan na lang ako ni Jiovani. Kayang kaya niya eh. Minsan nagugulat ka, pero siyempre you have to go back to the game,” said Codinera.
Codinera, a PBA icon himself, knows how difficult it is to accomplish a triple-double, reason why he makes it a point to celebrate the feat everytime Jalalon does it.
“Every time he gets a triple-double, we try to celebrate it, because it’s no joke,” said the Arellano coach.
Asked about Codinera's praises, Jalalon played down the comparisons with 'Magic’ and ‘El Presidente.’
“Unang-una, hindi ko iniisip na ganun ‘yung laro ko,” said Jalalon. “Hard work lang. Hindi ko naman makukuha ‘yun kung hindi dahil sa hardwork.”
Despite his latest triple-double effort, Jalalon said he was not satisfied with how he played in the first half against the Stags as he only had four points despite already having 11 assists.
Jalalon did find his teammates often in the second half, with Donald Gumaru making the most of the opportunity on the way to finishing with 17 points.
“Nahirapan ako kasi grabe depensa ng San Sebastian. Buti na lang nakabawi ako. Inuuna ko na ‘yung mga teammates ko. Nung dino-double na ako, nakikita ko na silang open. Sabi ko lang kay Donald, itira lang niya,” said Jalalon.