MANILA, Philippines – Magnolia guard Jiovani Jalalon vehemently denied the allegation made by Alaska head coach Alex Compton that he had thrown a punch during Game 4 of the 2018 PBA Governors' Cup Finals.
The best-of-seven series heated up further in Game 4 – won by Alaska, 90-76 – after Magnolia import Romeo Travis was cut above his eye and Alaska guard Chris Banchero getting hit by an apparent low blow from Magnolia veteran Mark Barroca.
Afterward, Compton aired his displeasure regarding the over-the-top physicality of the game, and specifically identified Jalalon as among those who crossed a line.
"We have an officiating crew that perhaps didn't see it, and I understand that. They can't see everything. But Jio punched us, somebody punched Mike (Harris) in the testicles, somebody punched Chris (Banchero) in the testicles," the coach lamented.
This is not the first time that Compton had called out Jalalon. After Magnolia's 77-71 triumph in Game 2, the Alaska coach rued that both Jalalon and Barroca got away with plenty of fouls.
Jalalon, however, disputed Compton's allegation.
"No. Hindi ako nanununtok," he said firmly.
"Nasa technique kasi eh. Pine-pressure nila kami. Siguro, natutulak lang, pero hindi (suntok)," he added.
Jalalon stressed that they may play physical basketball, but they have no intentions of hurting their opponents.
"Laro lang," he said. "Kung may nagawa kaming mali talaga sa court, sorry. 'Yun nga ang tawag eh, technique, sa basketball."
Moreover, Jalalon pointed out that he has gotten in trouble before for throwing a punch inside a basketball court, and has no intentions of doing that ever again.
"Alam naman natin na may nangyari na sa akin noong nakaraan sa Gilas," he said, referring to his role in the ugly brawl between the Philippine national team and Australia in July.
"Wala na 'yun, nag-move on na ako, umiiwas na talaga ako sa ganoon," Jalalon said.
The Magnolia floor general offered his apologies to Compton, saying: "Sorry coach, kung ganoon man 'yung pag-ano niya sa amin. Wala akong magagawa kung ano 'yung reaction niya doon."
He made it clear, however, that he threw no punches in the game and has no plans of doing so even as the series continues to intensify.
"Hindi ko na gagawin ulit 'yun sa buong buhay ko," Jalalon said.
The best-of-7 series is currently tied at 2-2, with Game 5 on Friday at the Araneta Coliseum.
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