JIO Jalalon did not hesitate when asked to pick which team he’d like Arellano to face in the NCAA Season 92 finals ahead of the do-or-die semis match between San Beda and Perpetual Help.
“San Beda. Sabik kami eh. Gusto namin bumawi,” the Chiefs star guard said, referring to back-to-back losses to the Red Lions in the playoff for the top seed.
“Yung San Beda, parang pareho kami ng height at yung big man nila si Ben Adamos lang. Pero magaling din kasi sila mag-adjust. Pag may tatlong big kami, nira-run out nila kami,” he added.
However, the 5-foot-10 guard is also wary of Perpetual and the Altas' towering frontcourt.
“Nakakatakot kasi dalawang big man na import nila, si Bright Akhuetie at Prince Eze, tapos ang mga wingman nila anlalaki, sila Gab Dagangon. Yun ang advantage nila sa amin,” said Jalalon, who remained confident Arellano will find a way to negate the strengths of their foes with their speed.
The Arellano star also acknowledged in being fired up to face Red Lions forward Robert Bolick, who’s made a reputation as a 'Jalalon stopper' in their recent match-ups. But he played down the rivalry, and instead vowed to be ready against whoever guards him on the court.
“Nakikita ko rin talaga, nahihirapan ako kay Bolick pero magaling lang talaga mag-scout si coach Jamike (Jarin) eh,” said Jalalon. “Kailangan ko mag-adjust sa laro ko, pero lagi naman akong prepared pag San Beda o Perpetual kalaban.”
The Chiefs are using the extended break in waiting for their finals opponent with 6 a.m. practices to work on their game, specifically their ball movement.
“Palalakasin pa namin teamwork namin. Nung naglaro kasi kami nung summer, sobrang sarap ng teamwork namin. Last ko nakita yun, nung sa Mapua nung semis. Sobrang ganda ng ikot ng bola, pasahan. Sana tuloy tuloy na,” said Jalalon.
On his own, Jalalon’s taking some extra time to learn some more improvements, watching Steve Nash and Allen Iverson clips on YouTube.
“Bata pa ako, Iverson na talaga sobrang idol ko. magaling mag-crossover, dribble. Sa pagpasa, si Steve Nash naman idol ko,” said Jalalon, a known scorer but admits to loving the art of passing even more.
“Sinabihan ako kasi ni coach Jerry [Codinera] na kailangan ko umi-score. Pero as a point guard, gusto ko talaga puro pasa para ang teammates ko maka-score. Kailangan lang talaga yung scoring ko [sa Arellano], pero sa ibang level siguro, magagawa ko na yung pagpasa,” he added.