Jio Jalalon was once the subject of trade rumors with the 27-year old cat-quick guard out of Arellano University supposedly on his way to Manila Clasico rival Brgy. Ginebra.
Magnolia governor Rene Pardo quickly leapt to the defense of the third-year pro and clarified that team management has no plans whatsoever to trade him. The amiable SMC official even added that “The Cyclone” has already signed a fresh three-year deal with the defending champions.
With all that behind him, Jalalon immediately buckled down to work and almost dropped a triple-double against Columbian with 19 points, 8 boards and 9 assists as the Hotshots arrested a three-game slide with a victory over the Dyip and moved back into contention for the much-coveted top four spots going into the next round.
“With Jio, we need his energy. Yun ang hinahanap namin sa kanya. Na-settle down na si Jio with all the issues and everything. I’m very happy for him also,” said Magnolia coach Chito Victolero shortly after the match.
Jalalon, for his part, denied that his subpar performance in the previous games were due to the issues surrounding him and instead pointed to lack of effort as the culprit.
“Okay naman talaga ako. Hindi ko naman naisip yun. Si Boss Gov. lang, sinabihan ako na ibawi ko siya sa linabas niyang salita,” said Jalalon. “Sabi ko, ‘Sige boss.’ Hindi naman ako nag-doubt. Alam ko naman yun. Nawala hardwork ko, binalik lang. Kung ano yung ginagawa ko dati, binalik ko lang. Parang nag-tanim uli ako. Sana magtuloy-tuloy ito.”