BROTHERS IN ARMS. There are two Jalalons in Arellano University. Photo courtesy of Kenneth S. Natividad
Following their breakthrough runner-up finish a season ago, Arellano University has reinforced their contention in the NCAA 91 Men’s Basketball Tournament.
Spearheading the Chiefs' offensive for a second consecutive playoff appearance is Jiovani Jalalon. While last year saw the Cagayan de Oro native grab some attention for himself, the ongoing tournament has seen him fully take center stage especially after a 25-point, eight-assist, seven-rebound masterpiece that was the undoubted reason Arellano completed a season sweep of San Beda College on Thursday.
With three triple-doubles under his belt, Jalalon has turned from promising talent to legitimate standout. Even better for the Legarda-based squad is that their star has one more year to drive the Arellano bus - and he will be doing it without any Scottie Thompson or Art Dela Cruz to contend with.
Being the school's first star in the NCAA, the question becomes what happens to the Chiefs after Jalalon leaves? Well, "The Conductor" Kent Salado looks like he has all the skills needed to take the reins.
Apparently, however, Arellano is looking way farther into the future and who better for "The Bus Driver" to pass the steering wheel to than... another Jalalon.
Arellano now literally has the next Jiovani Jalalon with twelve-year-old Jericho Jalalon already enrolled in their grade school and part of their midgets varsity team. If it wasn't clear yet, Jericho - who wants to be called Icho - is Jio's little brother.
According to his kuya, Icho is currently in Grade 7 and was the one who really wanted to transfer to Manila and study. "Hindi naman ako nagsabi sa kanya kung gusto niya mag-aral dito. Gusto niya talaga kaya kinuha ko siya this year," he told ABS-CBN Sports.
Along with studies, however, the younger Jalalon also relished the opportunity to be developed by a successful basketball program - especially after seeing his kuya become a star. "Gusto niya rin mag-basketball kasi nakikita niya ako," Jio shared.
Of course, little brother admitted that big brother is his idol. "Idol ko po si kuya. Manalo o matalo, ang ganda ng pagkalaro," he shyly said.
Asked who was better between them, Icho displayed the quiet confidence Jio has in saying while laughing, "Kasing galing po. Ganun din po laro ko."
This story was originally published on the ABS-CBN Sports website.