June 13, 2024

'Kahit magbugbugan kami': Jio Jalalon reveals player who challenges him hard during practice


Throughout the offseason, it was common to see Magnolia Hotshots guards Paul Lee, Mark Barroca, and Jio Jalalon share videos of their skills training and workout sessions.

Early in the PBA Commissioner's Cup, it looks like they're paying off immensely.

The Hotshots won their second straight assignment after walloping the Phoenix Fuel Masters on Sunday, 107-92, at the Ynares Sports Center in Antipolo.

Among Magnolia's gung-ho guards, it was Jalalon who came up the biggest with 20 points on 50% shooting from the field on top of eight rebounds, three assists, and three steals.

But Lee and Barroca also provided extra sauce, combining for 28 points and 10 assists.

After the win, the 31-year-old Jalalon said everything comes from their tough practice sessions.

"Sa practice pa lang, kaming dalawa ni Kuya Mark (Barroca), kahit nagtatawanan kami, nagcha-challenge pa rin kami sa isa't isa. Grabe 'yung (practice) naming dalawa. Sabi nga ni coach, kahit magbugbugan kaming dalawa," said Jalalon with a laugh during the postgame press conference. "'Yun ang gusto ni coach, 'yung matuto kaming dalawa."

The former Arellano Chiefs standout was named to the All-Defensive Team last season, but he's consistently worked on his offensive game as well. For him, his hard work during unseen hours is bearing fruit—for everyone to see.

"Pagdating sa game, 'yun ang mapakita namin sa team. Maganda 'yung na-execute namin ni Kuya Mark today," said Jalalon.

The Hotshots are now 13-0 dating back to the PBA on Tour. Clearly, they're playing at a high level, with prolific import Tyler Bey adding to their wide cupboard. 

ALSO READ: 'Idol ko': Paul Lee, Mark Barroca, other Magnolia players share story behind jersey number

But according to Jalalon, being complacent is not in their game plan. 

"Malayo pa 'yung liga," said The Cyclone. "Hindi kami magre-relax. 'Yun naman ang napag-usapan namin nila coach, ng players. Dapat grind lang nang grind hanggang dulo, hanggang sa matapos 'yung buzzer."

Magnolia will look to cook up another win as it takes on the NorthPort Batang Pier on Friday.