By Jonas Terrado
Jio Jalalon can still recall the time he first saw Mark Barroca flashing the talents that turned him into one of the PBA’s best guards.
That’s why Jalalon appeared like a wide-eyed high school kid Friday night, only this time seeing it in person as Barroca’s exploits during a decisive stretch in the fourth quarter preserved Magnolia’s 100-84 win over Alaska in Game 1 of the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals.
“Nung nakita ko na eight points na lang yung lamang, parang galit na siya,” Jalalon recalled. “Dun ko nakita yung Mark Barroca nung dati nung high school pa lang ako nung nakita ko sa TV.”
(When the lead was reduced to eight, that’s when Mark Barroca played like the time when I first saw him play on television)
Alaska had pulled within eight, 84-76, with 4:44 remaining in the fourth after scoring eight straight points when Barroca began putting on a show that left the Magnolia fans at the Mall of Asia Arena in awe.
He ended the Hotshots’ drought with a one-handed layup, before capitalizing on Jalalon’s steal and an open spot at the corner to knock down a three-point shot that made it 89-76, prompting the Aces to call a timeout.
The break didn’t slow down Barroca, whose steal resulted in a Paul Lee layup to make it a 15-point game. By then, the game was already decided.