ALL Jio Jalalon did was to settle down.
"First and second (quarters), sobrang gigil. Yung gigil and excitement nandoon," he admitted.
And once he did, the Magnolia guard almost guided the Hotshots to a dramatic comeback that just fell a little bit short in the end.
The third-year pro scored all of his 22 points in the second half including two pressure-packed three-pointers that were sadly negated as Magnolia went down in overtime against long-time rival Barangay Ginebra, 97-93, in Sunday's PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Jalalon finished 9-of-16 from the field, added six rebounds, and two assists in a sterling performance that matched the career-best of college rival Scottie Thompson, who had 27 points, 11 rebounds, and five assists.
If only the spitfire Magnolia guard got untrack early in the game, the Hotshots couldn't have found themselves rallying back from as much as a 15-point deficit.
It took some prodding from veteran teammate Peter June Simon and coach Chito Victolero at the half for Jalalon to let the game come to him.
"Dinahan-dahan ko lang yung sarili ko na makabalik ako. Tapos inuna ko yung defense ko, tapos yun dumating na yung offense ko," he said.
The Arellano University product dropped 12 points in the final quarter, none more important than the team's last six points on back-to-back three pointers that capped the Hotshots comeback from six points down and sent the game into overtime 85-all.
"Yung mind set ko noon kailangan na kasing tumira kasi nga yung mga (Ginebra) guards nagko-collapse na rin kay Ian (Sangalang)," he said.
"So naisip ko kung libre ako, ititira ko na. Bahala na kung ma-shoot o hindi."
But Jalalon and the Hotshots failed to carry the momentum in the extra period.
Jalalon himself fouled out early in overtime as the Kings went to Thompson at crunch time to pull off the team's fifth win in eight outings.
The loss snapped the Hotshots' two-game winning run and fell to a 3-5 (win-loss) card.
Jalalon offered no excuses, consoling himself that the Hotshots made a fight out of it till the end.
"Ang pinag-usapan lang naman dito is yung effort, kung paano kami maglaro," he said.
"Nagawa naman namin yung effort, pero para sa Ginebra talaga yung game." (RG)