Jalalon sees more value in Hotshots’ victory over Kings

Magnolia’s Paul Lee (left) and Jio Jalalon bottle up Barangay Ginebra’s Scottie Thompson. —AUGUST DELA CRUZ

Magnolia’s Paul Lee (left) and Jio Jalalon bottle up Barangay Ginebra’s Scottie Thompson. —AUGUST DELA CRUZ

Magnolia conquered a fierce rival on Sunday night to tab a victory that meant more than the one that ultimately appeared in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup standings.

For Jio Jalalon, one of the heroes in the Hotshots’ 93-91 comeback win over crowd darling Barangay Ginebra at Smart Araneta Coliseum, the gutsy stand gave his club an idea of the heights it could still scale.

“We came back from 26 points down and we beat the champion, so our morale is really high now,” Jalalon told reporters in Filipino on the heels of a stunning victory that kept Magnolia’s record pristine after four games

.“As long as we don’t relax and we don’t stray from our system, we’ll do well,” he added.

An uncharacteristic first half had coach Chito Victolero fuming by the halftime break. And that turned out to be the nudge the Hotshots needed to get back to playing the game at their pace.

Jalalon cranked things up in the third quarter, scoring nine of his total 15 points in that frame to get Magnolia’s comeback machine humming. Tyler Bey then hit a groove of his own, scoring 16 of his eventual team-best 31 points in the final frame to help complete the rally.

“We just tried to remind the players about starting strong and finishing stronger,” Victolero said. “They responded very well to my challenge and I’m very proud of them.”

It was an electric effort for Magnolia, tainted by erratic officiating toward the end. The PBA on Monday said that it will be penalizing Peter Balao, Marty Montoya, Joel Baldago and Julius Medillo for missing Mark Barroca’s foul on Ginebra’s Scottie Thompson in the dying seconds of the match.

Meanwhile, NLEX has taken a massive hit to its campaign as cornerstone Kevin Alas has been diagnosed to have torn a left knee ligament.

The Road Warriors star, who has since become a PBA All-Star and an Asian Games champion after a triumphant return from a pair of anterior cruciate ligament tears to his right knee, hurt his other leg during the team’s losing stand to Terrafirma last Saturday in Antipolo City. INQ

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