Collegiate foes and national team brethrens years ago, Jio Jalalon knows how good Kiefer Ravena is dating back to their collegiate days.
That’s why he’s no longer surprised that his close friend didn’t need much time to adjust to the PBA game.
“You know how good Kiefer is even before. And I knew that coming to the PBA, he won’t have much problems adjusting. Even in Gilas, he’s been playing well,” he said.
The sophomore Jalalon and rookie Ravena clashed on Sunday when Magnolia and NLEX met, and just as expected, the young guns stepped up to the challenge.
Ravena was impressive anew for the Road Warriors, notching a new career-high 31 points with four rebounds and five assists.
Jalalon, on the other hand, saved his best for last and uncorked seven of his nine markers in the payoff period. He also posted six boards to help Magnolia fend off NLEX late.
Asked about his duel against Ravena, Jalalon could only smile seeing how his former Gilas teammate is thriving in the pros.
“He has really stepped up his game. He has experienced a lot and now that he’s in the PBA, he’s still playing well,” he said. “He doesn’t look like a rookie, and just like what everyone is saying, he really is a super rookie.”
The spotlight, however, isn’t just on Ravena alone as Jalalon himself has slowly built his confidence again to earn his way back to coach Chito Victolero’s rotation.
“I’m trying to stay positive whenever coach puts me in the game. I’m still trying to get my conditioning back and again, I’m just staying positive,” said Jalalon, who is coming off a knee injury.