Behind a balanced attack, Magnolia cruised to another smooth ride opposite NLEX and Northport to maintain perfection and solidify its hold of the solo spot in the Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup.
The dominant Hotshots with Serbian reinforcement Nicholas Rakocevic at the helm, trounced their last two assignments by an average winning margin of 16.0 points for a searing 5-0 start midway through the import-flavored conference.
But while the unbeaten run could be attributed to the Hotshots’ collective effort, an unheralded sparkplug from the bench in Jio Jalalon made it easier for Magnolia as it shored up its bid for a twice-to-beat advantage in the playoffs.
The scrappy guard continued to shine in his role in leading the Hotshots’ shock troopers behind astounding averages of 14.0 points on a 63-percent shooting clip, 7.5 assists, and 3.5 rebounds versus the Road Warriors and the Batang Pier.
The two-time All-Defensive Team member stamped his biggest mark on the defensive end with 5.0 steals in two games to become the Cignal Play-PBA Press Corps Player of the Week for the period 12 to 16 October.
Jalalon beat Converge gunner Maverick Ahanmisi and Phoenix sniper Tyler Tio for the weekly citation being handed out by the men and women regularly covering the PBA beat.
Against NLEX, the former Arellano University standout unloaded 18 points, five rebounds, eight assists, and six steals in only 26 minutes of play as Magnolia ran away with an easy 111-97 win.
The Cagayan de Oro native would not be denied against the Batang Pier a few days later as he poured in 10 points, two rebounds, seven assists, and four steals including a buzzer-beating triple at the end of the third quarter to give Magnolia a 20-point lead heading home.
On top of those numbers was Jalalon’s key defensive job on counterparts Kevin Alas of NLEX and Robert Bolick of Northport to solidify his stature as one of the best defensive lynchpins in the league today.