Chot: Jalalon is my Seaba MVP
Displaying its dominance in the 2017 Seaba Championship, it’s understandable that Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes will have a difficulty picking on whom he felt performed the best for his side.
But there’s one guy who really stood out and defied the national team coach’s expectations, and that guy is Jio Jalalon.
“It’s hard to name a single player because different players stepped up every ball game. But I really like the development and the play of Jio Jalalon. I think that’s a guy who is going to be really special for this program,” he said on Thursday after the Philippines defended its Seaba crown.
Despite coming off the bench and being the third-string point guard, Jalalon still made his imprint in the star-studded roster, averaging 7.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.0 steals, and a tournament second-best 5.2 assists in the six wins of the Philippines in the regional competition.
For the Star rookie, hearing those words from Reyes just motivates him to play harder for the national team.
“It feels so good and I’m thankful for coach Chot for saying those words,” he said in Filipino. ”It makes me prepare harder to get back on practice.”
But Jalalon admitted that he won’t have been able to perform the way he did if not for his roommate and mentor Jayson Castro, who has been on the rookie’s ears from the get-go.
“He always tells me to be aggressive. And I just follow what he tells me in our practices, to think about our teammates first,” he said. “He gave me the confidence to play my game and make my shots.”
Despite the praises rained down his way, Jalalon knows exactly what his role is with the team which is to infuse the much needed energy whenever he’s on the floor.
“I think it should do with my hustle and defense,” he said. “I’m just creating for my team whenever I’m on the court. I’m not thinking about myself but my teammates.”