Jalalon passes up on game winner as cramps threaten anew
Haunted by cramps in the crucial stretch of the game, Jiovani Jalalon failed to deliver the victory for Arellano as it fell 88-85 to San Beda in Game 1 of the NCAA Season 92 men’s basketball Finals on Thursday.
His left foot first acted up after tying the game at 80 midway in the period and limped his way back to the bench. He would return to the game with 2:41 to go, leading the Chiefs’ last ditch rally to finally score one over the Red Lions.
But with Arellano getting a chance to take the lead with 27.1 seconds left, Jalalon defrayed to Dioncee Holts and let the big man heave a three before San Beda corralled the rebound.
It was a head-scratching play coming from Jalalon, one of the most notorious closers in the collegiate basketball scene, but the star guard explained that in the end, his body just failed him.
“Noong kinuha ko yung bola, na-feel ko na gusto ko i-shoot. Pero yung paa ko talaga, yung right naman ang gusto mag-cramps,” he said. “Nakita ko si D na ang layo ng tao nya kaya binigay ko na. May tiwala naman ako sa kanya kaysa naman itira ko at ma-error. Nagtiwala din ako sa teammate ko, pero kung na-shoot nya yun, iba sana.”
Jalalon was saddled with three fouls in the first half before making a late run to bring the Chiefs back in the game.
Though he still had his usual numbers, finishing with 21 points, seven rebounds, five assists, and two steals, all Jalalon could think about was the missed chance to inch closer to the title.
“Nakabalik na kami eh. Sayang,” he said. “Ang sakit talaga kasi nandoon na kami, nakalamang na kami ng isa, nag-relax pa. Kung nashoot yung layup ni Lervin (Flores), alam kong tapos na eh kasi makakalamang kami ng tatlo. Pero na-rebound nila, fastbreak ni (Robert) Bolick, sila ang lumamang.”
However, Jalalon knows that there’s no sense in crying over spilled milk and would rather focus on getting back at rival San Beda on Tuesday.
“Move on na lang kami, bawi na lang. Ganun lang naman yun eh. Wala na kaming ibang iniisip kundi bumawi,” he said. “Tapos na yung apat na game na talo kami lagi. Gusto lang namin makabawi kami sa Game 2.”