FROM top gunner to chief passer.
Jiovani Jalalon is trying his best to make a conscious effort to dish out as many assists as possible this season as Arellano aims for another shot at the NCAA men’s basketball championship.
The national player admitted he’s been aiming to end up with at least 15 assists in every Arellano games, which he already did twice in the first round of the eliminations.
“Sinabi ko rin sa isang coach namin na sana makuha ko ‘yung 15 assists. ‘Yun ang target ko,” said Jalalon.
"Ginagawa ko 'yun. Hindi ko rin akalain na dumadating sa akin.”
On Friday, Jalalon outdid himself after setting a league season-high in assists with 16 in the Chiefs’ 104-92 win over the San Sebastian Stags.
Jalalon already notched 15 assists last July 14 against Emilio Aguinaldo College to set a record high for the season which he has since surpassed.
Previously, he also had 12 in one game to become the league’s assists leader with an average of 10.8 per outing.
Jalalon said he was inspired to dish out instead of scoring this season after seeing his teammates work hard weeks ago when scheduled games were postponed due to bad weather.
“Nakikita ko ‘yung extra work nila. Nalilibre rin ‘yung mga teammates ko kaya pinapasahan ko. Gusto ko rin habulin (‘yung assists),” he said.
“Inspired ako sa mga teammates ko kasi ‘yung nag-prepare kami sa St. Benilde, na-postpone ‘yung game. ‘Yung one week ko, sobrang extra work sila,” added the Cagayan De Oro native.
Arellano coach Jerry Codinera admitted having Jalalon as the team’s chief point guard is making his job easier.
“It makes your job easier if you have a point guard like him na isang kindat lang, isang instruction lang, he can get it right away,” said the PBA great.
Jalalon acknowledged he learned to adopt a point guard mentality by playing for Gilas Pilipinas head coach Tab Baldwin, who also called the shots for the Gilas cadets during the last 28th Southeast Asian Games in Singapore.
“Siguro lagi akong sinasabihan ni coach Tab na point guard talaga. Assist lang talaga,” said Jalalon, a member of the gold-medal winning team.