Time to grow up for Jalalon and talented, but young Chiefs

Tricia Robredo on Jul 04, 2015 03:43 PM
Time to grow up for Jalalon and talented, but young Chiefs
HEY, MAMA. Jiovani Jalalon described last year's veterans in Arellano as "mga mama" and feels funny that now with a rookie-laden squad, he is now the "mama."

Coming off the PBA D-League and then Southeast Asian Games, Arellano University’s Jiovani Jalalon feels that he has an advantage in terms of experience.

That's why in the dying minutes of their game against Lyceum of the Philippines University last Friday, he kept telling himself that losing was not an option as he told ABS-CBN Sports, "Nakakahiya kung hindi ako gumawa at hindi ko ma-guide yung teammates ko."

Despite a shoulder injury, he played through the pain and successfully led the Chiefs to their first victory.

With the exposure he has gotten over the past couple of months, Jalalon is aware of the bigger responsibility he is expected to fulfill and the bigger role he must assume. "Sobrang mama ng mga kasama ko last season. Ngayon, puro rookies naman. ‘Di pwedeng pa-baby-baby ako sa court. Kailangan (ko) maging tough," he said.

Speaking of toughness, Jiovani shares that he got inked on his rookie year in the NCAA as an act of manning up as he shared, "Una kong tattoo yung pangalan sa right chest. Maipakita at mapatunayan lang na matapang ako." Now on his third year as a collegiate baller, he has gotten two more - his mom and dad’s names on his left chest and a bible just below them. 

The bible is said to symbolize his being very religious and also the special relationship he has with his girlfriend who actually chose the tattoo for him. The one of his parents, on the other hand, reflects how big of an inspiration and influence they are to his career and his life.

Jiovani started playing at the young age of nine because he very much wanted to be like his father who was a basketball player back in Cagayan de Oro. With his enthusiasm and determination, it didn't take long before he got discovered by the coaches in Manila.

The Marketing major admits that the struggles of being a student-athlete are truly very real, but also added, "Pero pinaghihirapan ko talaga." Not everyone is given the chance to do what they love and he considers himself very blessed with the opportunity.

Now on his way to reaching greater heights, Jiovani Jalalon plans to take the rest of the Arellano Chiefs with him. "Ako yung nauna at ako yung mas marami nang nagawa kumpara sa mga bata. Pero lagi kong sinasabi na sana at kaya rin nilang maabot yun," he said.

Hoping to make a re-appearance in the Final Four, Jiovani expects everyone, including himself, to mature and step up their game by saying, "Kung gusto naming malampasan, o kahit man lang maabot, yung naabot namin last season, dapat tulong-tulong.”


Follow this writer on Twitter, @jpgrobredo.

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