Arellano University no longer has its bus driver.
Jiovani Jalalon, nicknamed “Bus Driver” for “taking everyone to school” in his NCAA heyday, is now shining bright for the Star Hotshots in the PBA.
And so, he has left the Chiefs to the hands of his once running mate, his once partner-in-crime – Kent Salado.
However, Salado wants to make it known that he is not the next or the new “Bus Driver.” “Hindi ako yun. Siya (Jalalon) yung ‘Bus Driver’ e. ‘Conductor’ pa rin ako kasi dun na rin nasanay ang lahat,” he said.
Whatever nickname he will be called in the upcoming NCAA, Salado is not mincing words at just how much he has been missing the man behind the wheel of the Arellano bus for the past two years. As he put it, “Iba yung nawala yung Jalalon. Ngayon, ako na lagi dino-double (team) tapos wala akong mapasahan tulad dati na nandyan siya.”
He then continued, “Binababad ako ni coach Jerry. Minsan, pagod na pagod ako talaga.”
Of course, head coach Jerry Codinera was of the same mind. Asked about the loss of Jalalon, he answered, “Nako. Diyos ko po. Talagang rumupok yung team kasi alam mo naman si Jiovani, he can make or unmake a game.”
Fortunately for the faithful over at Legarda, Jalalon’s kababayan from Cagayan de Oro is more than capable of his newer, bigger role. “It’s a big adjustment, pero buti na lang, nandyan pa si Salado. Inconsistent pa, siyempre, pero ganun talaga basketball, challenges never stop,” Codinera expressed.
And the mentor has no doubt that Salado can steer Arellano again into contention. “He’s always been there for me – Racal in the D-League, Arellano in the collegiate. He has to improve his leadership lang kasi si Jiovani, nako-control talaga niya players e,” he shared.
He then continued, “But Salado will get there.”
The even better news is that the new High Schief is not backing down from the greater expectations. “Para sa akin, mahihirapan ako, pero paghihirapan ko lang ang lahat. Gagawin ko lalo yung kung anong magagawa ko sa court,” he said.
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