MANILA, Philippines—Jiovani Jalalon showed tremendous composure in crunch time to seal the deal in Magnolia's 94-91 victory over the Rain Or Shine Elasto Painters in Game 4 of their semifinal series on Monday evening.
The Hotshots saw what was once a 21-point lead trimmed down to a single digit, 92-91, with still four seconds left to play when the E-Painters sent Jalalon to the line.
Jalalon coolly drained two charities to give his team a 3-point cushion, and the Hotshots forced James Yap to misfire from beyond the arc in the final possession of the game to come away with a tough victory.
The pivotal Game 5 of the series is on Wednesday at the Cuneta Astrodome.
"Siguro iniisip ko talaga ’yung mashu-shoot ko kasi pag di na-shoot ’yun, yari ako sa lahat ng teammates ko kasi kailangan din namin ’yung panalo," said Jalalon after the game.
The guard, who finished with 12 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists in the win, acknowledged that he did feel some nerves at the moment, especially with the game still hanging in the balance.
"Ayun, medyo may kaba kaunti pero pina-practice ko naman ’yun lagi. So ayun, nakuha namin yung panalo," said Jalalon.
Jalalon struggled from the field, making only 3 of his 12 shots. But he went 5 of 6 at the free-throw line, and stepped up in the final quarter especially after veteran guard Mark Barroca fouled out with still 6:45 left to play.
Thanks in part to Jalalon's clutch charities, the Hotshots have now tied their Philippine Cup semifinals series at two games apiece.
However, Jalalon knows that there is no reason for them to celebrate.
"Naka-tie kami, so di kami magre-relax nito kasi back to zero na, 0-0 na ulit. So Game 1, pagtrabahuhan pa rin namin," he said.
"Alam naman natin ang Rain Or Shine, hindi rin nagpapatalo ’yan. So kung ano ibabato nila sa amin, ready lang kaming mga guards. Kung ano i-adjust ni coach, gawin lang namin ’yung papagawa niya sa amin," he added.
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