Chemistry is the key as Maliksi, Pinto team up to lift Blackwater | Inquirer Sports

Chemistry is the key as Maliksi, Pinto team up to lift Blackwater

By: - Reporter / @BLozadaINQ
/ 09:43 PM August 24, 2018

When Blackwater needed a hero to stop its curse against TNT, a couple of men in tank tops heeded the call.

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The Elite haven’t had a single victory against the KaTropa in the previous 11 times they’ve faced each other in the PBA, but Allein Maliksi and Nard Pinto were determined to end that drought.

Maliksi and Pinto combined for 15 of the Elite’s 18 points in overtime as they inspired Blackwater to a 104-98 win over the KaTropa in the Governors’ Cup Friday at Mall of Asia Arena.

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And although both said they didn’t demand the ball during crunch time what they did, however, was just execute what needed to be done.

“It just happened, we were given the opportunity and I actually told Nards that if he’s open he just has to shoot it,” said Maliksi in Filipino. “And as for my shots, I try to be aggressive because Henry [Walker] is also relying on us to be scorers so we just work on it.”

Maliksi and Pinto scored the Elite’s first 14 points in the overtime and starting with a three-pointer from the sly guard to the open the extra period.

After Pinto’s triple, he found the trailing Maliksi in transition for the mid-range jumper for the 91-86 Elite lead with 3:56 remaining in the game.

Pinto then knocked down another three for Blackwater’s 97-89 lead with 2:17 left in the clock.

But before Pinto turned hero for the Elite, he had an embarrassing air ball late in the fourth quarter with the Elite trailing 86-82.

“When I shot that air ball, Henry was very vocal about it so when overtime happened I knew I was given a chance to redeem myself,” said Pinto. “I had the chance, Henry cheered me up, and if I’m open I’ll just take it.”

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Maliksi and Pinto, who had 28 and 12 points, respectively, said their late-game chemistry wasn’t built overnight and nor was it developed through just their daily practices.

The Elite had a couple of pocket tournaments in Indonesia and Macau before they returned to the Philippines a few weeks before the start of the Governors’ Cup and it was during their time abroad that they cultivated the intangibles that eventually helped them in the conference.

“Chemistry was a big factor for us because we developed it in the two tournaments that we played in and it was on a higher level so our confidence translated here in our first game,” said Maliksi.

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TAGS: Allein Maliksi, Blackwater Elite, Nard Pinto, PBA governors’ cup, Sports
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