Vital ingredients | Inquirer Sports

Vital ingredients

New additions Maliksi and Almazan provide valuable championship-winning experience for Meralco
/ 05:30 AM January 02, 2020

Allein Maliksi and Raymond Almazan have become two indispensable assets for Meralco in this PBA Governors’ Cup.As former champions with different teams, they shoulder a heavier burden when their race-to-four duel with crowd darling—and old tormentor—Barangay Ginebra unfurls on Jan. 7 at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao.

Aside from providing the tangibles needed from them by coach Norman Black on the court, the pair—which the Bolts didn’t have in their first two cracks at a title that both ended up in losses to the Gin Kings—are expected to impart knowledge on their teammates as far as winning high-stakes contests—and titles—are concerned.


Maliksi, after all, has plenty to tap into.


Having won four PBA titles with coach Tim Cone at San Mig Coffee, the sweet-shooting forward said he has embraced the task of sharing wisdom to Meralco’s stars.

“I feel God has placed me in different teams for a purpose. Now, I get to share my experiences with Baser [Amer] and Chris [Newsome],” he told scribes in Filipino as he goes to battle with the rest of the Bolts that are again listed as underdogs against the Kings.

Almazan, meanwhile, has won one with Yeng Guiao at Rain or Shine.

During his time with the Painters, he was Guiao’s foremost weapon in the interior. Almazan said he looks to channel that performance and pair it with the resurgence he has gained from his Gilas stint at the World Cup.

“It has been nearly 10 years and Meralco has yet to win a title,” he said in Filipino. “I know that they have long been looking for a big man, and I hope that my arrival here will help.” A quick scan at their averages shows how much the pair can help.

Maliksi, who came in halfway through the conference, has delivered significant contributions from the bench. He has emerged as the fifth-best scorer for the Bolts—behind do-it-all import Allen Durham, Amer, Newsome and Almazan.


Before the semifinal series against TNT, Almazan was consistently churning out double-doubles in points and rebounds.

Though both are aware that whatever strides they have made thus far won’t matter much when the final dance happens next week.

“I’d die for this—sacrifice whatever and embrace the role that is asked of me,” Maliksi, the former University of Santo Tomas hotshot in the UAAP, said.

Maliksi’s role would basically be to help light up the scoreboard for the Bolts, since they will be up against a high-scoring team in Ginebra. Almazan, meanwhile, has a literally big task ahead, as he deals with either the 7-foot Greg Slaughter of the 6-foot-9 Japeth Aguilar.

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Though from the way he talked, he sounded like he doesn’t care.

“I like my matchup now because they’re true big men—Greg or Japeth,” he said. “I don’t care who I face, it’s the Finals.”

TAGS: Allein Maliksi, Basketball, Meralco, PBA Governors' Cup, Raymond Almazan

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