MANILA, Philippines—With its backcourt hobbled by injuries, Magnolia has turned to point guard Jio Jalalon more early into the new PBA season.
So far, Jalalon has risen to the occasion.
Entrusted to play a much bigger role with Paul Lee and Mark Barroca hurt, Jalalon has made his presence felt in many ways for the Hotshots.
Through three games, Jalalon is averaging 11 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists and 3.6 steals.
“Very crucial,” Magnolia head coach Chito Victoler said on Wednesday when asked about Jalalon’s role on the team as it deals with health issues. “I talked to Jio about it. We need him, especially on both ends of the floor. We need his leadership. Like I’ve told him, any time you can score, any single possession because 80 percent of the ball will come from him.”
“My challenge for him is how he involves his teammates and that’s what Jio is doing now. You can see Jio being there for us on both ends of the floor,” Victolero added.
The 29-year-old Jalalon’s all-around brilliance was on display Wednesday with eight points, 10 rebounds, six assists and two steals, helping the Hotshots pick up their first win in the 2022 Philippine Cup after opening the conference with two losses.
And just the way Victolero wanted it, it was Jalalon’s pass that led to a game-winning triple by Rome dela Rosa as Magnolia dealt NorthPort its first loss, 80-77.
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