MANILA, Philippines – Jio Jalalon will not let an injury get in the way as Magnolia chases the PBA Philippine Cup championship.
Battling a left hamstring strain, Jalalon helped the Hotshots stay in the hunt as he produced 15 points in a 105-97 victory over defending champion TNT in Game 5 of their best-of-seven semifinals clash on Friday, August 12.
“This is our chance. It will not help us if I show my teammates that I’m not going to fight,” Jalalon said in Filipino. “We’re already here. I’m ready to push myself to the limit.”
Jalalon ended the elimination round as a contender for the Best Player of the Conference plum after cracking the top five in statistical points with averages of 13.1 points, 6.9 assists, 6.4 rebounds, and 2.5 steals.
But the injury Jalalon sustained at the tail end of the eliminations eventually took its toll on him as his production dipped in the semifinals.
Prior to Game 5, the former Arellano standout averaged 4 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists in the last three games, with the Tropang Giga seizing a commanding 3-1 lead.
Jalalon even aggravated the injury in Game 5, forcing Magnolia head coach Chito Victolero to sit him out for the entire fourth quarter.
Still, the Hotshots look for Jalalon to contribute as Victolero saved him up for Game 6, where they look to tie the series at 3-3.
“He is not 100 percent. But of course, because of his attitude, because of his toughness, he really wants to play, he really wants to help the team,” Victolero said.
Despite the quick turnaround for Game 6 on Sunday, August 14, at the Araneta Coliseum, Jalalon vowed to play.
“I will fight until the end,” Jalalon said. – Rappler.com