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Despite swapping final year for Gilas, Jalalon thinks Arellano can still make NCAA finals sans him

By Ivan Saldajeno

MANDALUYONG—Nearly a month ago, Jio Jalalon was weighing his options on whether he will play one more year in the NCAA or forgo it in favor of committing full-time to Gilas following another bridesmaid finish by Arellano.

[Related Story: BACK TO MENDIOLA | San Beda sweeps NCAA finals against Arellano]

When he was named into the national team pool, he quickly grabbed the chance.

The former King Chief, along with eight other Gilas players, trooped to the PBA office in Quezon City on the last day of declaring for the draft as part of a clause where the Gilas players will undergo a special draft.

"Kailangan ko na talaga eh. Yung iba, gustong pumunta sa Gilas pero nahihirapan sila. Iniisip ko na ito na yung opportunity ko na mapunta sa Gilas at kung paano ako magpapa-draft," the spitfire point guard said to Dugout Philippines on Wednesday during the draft combine at the Gatorade Hoops Center on why he turned pro.

However, Jalalon still thinks Arellano is still a favorite to win it all next year even if he is gone from the lineup.

"Malakas pa sila kasi andun naman sina [Kent] Salado, [Brylle] Meca, [Ariel] Aguilar, Lervin Flores, at Dioncee Holts. Feel ko nga, papasok pa ng finals yun eh. Pagbutihan lang [nila]," he said.

Jalalon is expected to be among the early picks for the Gilas draft.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno