FOR carving out history in the last Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, Gilas Pilipinas will have a special moment in the PBA Press Corps Awards Night on Monday (Nov. 20) at Novotel Manila Araneta City.
Coach Tim Cone and his fearless group of players are going to be honored with the President’s Award by the men and women who cover the PBA beat following their epic conquest of the men’s basketball gold in the 19th edition of the Asiad held in Hangzhou, China.
Together with the Golden Gilas, Magnolia guard Jio Jalalon is also having his share of centerstage in the event presented by ArenaPlus as the recipient of the Defensive Player of the Year honor.
Jalalon, 31, was earlier named part of Season 47’s All-Defensive Team (June Mar Fajardo, Christian Standhardinger, Cliff Hodge, and Chris Newsome), marking the third time in his career he made the elite group.
As top choice for the President’s Award, Gilas Pilipinas joins the PBA Board of Governors and former MVP and Bulakan, Bulacan Mayor Vergel Meneses as among the select few recognized for the honor.
The national team exceeded the expectations of a basketball-loving nation when it regained basketball supremacy in Asia by winning the gold for the first time in 61 long years.
With barely two weeks of preparation as a complete unit, Gilas capped its campaign behind a memorable come-from-behind win over host China in the semifinals, 77-76, and then got back at elimination round tormentor Jordan in the gold medal play, 70-60.
Jalalon meanwhile, led the league in steals last season, averaging 2.1 in 49 games played.
He also ranked third in assists with 5.8 per game, while averaging 11.1 points and 5.3 rebounds.
At 5-foot-9, Jalalon is the smallest recipient of the award whose previous winners include Chris Ross, June Mar Fajardo, Jean Marc Pingris, Poy Erram, Freddie Abuda, Chris Jackson, Jerry Codinera, Marlou Aquino, Wynne Arboleda, among others.