Jalalon could miss games for Chiefs due to Gilas duties
Winners of four straight, Arellano University is on the rise as the first round of the NCAA Season 92 men’s basketball tournament comes to a close.
But a big problem is seemingly on the horizon as the Chiefs could miss star guard Jiovani Jalalon for a few games in the second round.
“I don’t know his plans yet. He might leave for Iran, but we’ll talk about it,” said Arellano coach Jerry Codinera after Arellano’s 89-69 win over Jose Rizal University on Friday.
Jalalon is part of the Gilas pool which is preparing for the 2016 Fiba Asia Challenge Cup set in Iran from Sept. 9 to 18.
With Fiba undergoing a shift in calendar and competition schedule starting next year, that tiff will serve as a determiner in the qualification process for the 2017 Fiba Asia Cup, where teams from Asia and Oceania will compete in the same region for the first time as Asia-Pacific.
Despite his inclusion in the national team’s shortlist, Jalalon shared that there’s still a lot of uncertainty surrounding his schedule in the coming weeks, but his focus remains with Arellano.
“Hindi naman ako masyadong tutok sa Gilas kasi alam naman ng mga coaches na nasa Arellano yung focus ko. Masaya ako sa teammates ko kasi yung mga pinapagawa ni coach, nangyayari,” the fourth-year guard said.
Jalalon also noted that if his duties with Gilas would greatly affect the Chiefs’ campaign this season, he’d rather take a pass.
“Kung maraming games akong mawawala, stay na lang ako sa Arellano,” he said. “Marami pa akong kailangang gawin sa Arellano.”
At 7-2, Arellano is heading into the All-Star break tied in second place with University of Perpetual Help.
Codinera knows that Jalalon’s status with the national team is a problem the Chiefs have to face, and that could be pivotal as they seek to return to the Final Four after missing the dance last year.
“Hindi pa namin alam ang schedule of games. Kami naman, we just want to get as much wins as possible because you don’t know what’s going to happen in the second round,” he said. “Ayoko pang isipin kasi very vital sa amin si Jiovani.”
If Jalalon does get a nod to be part of the national team, Codinera thinks that his team is still well-equipped to compete in the NCAA wars. However, he knows that doing so won’t be the same.
“Andyan pa rin naman si (Kent) Salado, kaso iba pa rin pag kumpleto kami at andyan si Jiovani,” he said. “We have better manpower compared to last year. Si Dioncee (Holts), maraming tumutulong sa kanya. May mga players rin kami that have found their roles sa team like (Brylle) Meca and Kraniel (Villoria). Pero syempre mas gusto ko yung kumpleto kami.”
Salado also believes that the school will still be the main priority for Jalalon.
“Nag-uusap kami. Hindi naman yata sasama ito,” as he sat side-by-side with his backcourt tandem. “Mas maganda pa rin pag nandyan siya sa team.”
But if the worst case does happen to Arellano, Salado made it clear that the Chiefs will try their best to keep the ship afloat.
“Gagawin pa rin namin ang best namin para magawa yung mga ginagawa nya,” he said.
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