Coach Chot says Jalalon is ‘going to be really special for Gilas’
SPECIAL. From dominating the NCAA to being named as unofficial SEABA MVP, Jiovani Jalalon's star just keeps on shining brighter.
Officially, there is no most valuable player in the 2017 SEABA Championship.
Even head coach Chot Reyes of gold-winning Philippines had this to say when asked who he thinks should have been MVP, “Mahirap. It’s hard to name a single player (from Gilas) because different players stepped up every ball game.”
In the same line of thought, however, the Gilas Pilipinas coach was able to single out a player whom he thinks deserved praise. As he put it, “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.”
Standing alongside Gilas stalwarts such as Andray Blatche, Jayson Castro, and June Mar Fajardo, the 24-year-old’s name is not one of those expected to be mentioned as the tournament’s top individual player.
Even Jalalon himself was uncertain why he was singled out. “Siguro (nasabi niya yun) dahil sa hustle at defense ko. tapos nagki-create lang kasi ako sa loob,” he said.
He also added, “’Di ko iniisip yung sarili ko. Inuuna ko yung mga kasama ko.”
The numbers seem to agree with Jalalon. Averaging 7.2 points, 5.2 assists, 4.2 rebounds, and two steals through six games, there was no doubt that he made the most out of his minutes – even though he was the third pointman off the bench after Castro and Terrence Romeo.
Nonetheless, the Star Hotshot was nothing but happy that the Gilas coach appreciated his effort. “Sobrang sarap pakinggan. Thank you, coach Chot, na sinabihan mo ako nang ganun,” he expressed.
Not wanting to let his coach down, Jalalon said this was only the beginning for him. “Maghahanda pa ako lalo pagbalik ng practice,” he said.
Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.