PBA: Allein Maliksi pays back team’s trust with solid play in Game 1 win
MANILA, Philippines–Allein Maliksi led the way for Meralco in its 104-91 victory over Barangay Ginebra in the curtain-raiser of the PBA Governors’ Cup finalé on Wednesday night.
The veteran gunner, who hopes to help deliver the club’s first-ever PBA title, paced the Bolts with 22 points, his second straight since topscoring with 24 in the rubber match against top-seeded Magnolia just a week ago.
His sustained brilliance, according to Maliksi, is all thanks to the trust that is being put in him.
“The difference in the past two games is I’m getting more touches, my teammates are creating (opportunities) for me,” he told reporters on his way out of the Big Dome.
“If you’re touching the basketball more, you get more feel for the game,” he went on. “It’s really different from whenever you’re just running up and down waiting for the basketball. You tend to feel you’re not part of the game.”
Maliksi’s scoring output has not been exactly consistent these playoffs. His finest showing came during the Phoenix game in the quarterfinals, where he dropped 27. He had struggled to put up more than 10 since then.
Maliksi underscored Meralco’s ball movement that night. The Bolts accounted for 30 assists, enabling a bevy of its unheralded stars to make their presence felt through scoring.
Also coming through for the club were Cliff Hodge, who finished with 17 points, and Raymond Almazan who chipped in 10. Aaron Black, a first-timer on this stage, was just as crucial with 12.
“This time, the ball was moving really well. That’s what we’ve been working hard in practice since the off-season,” said Maliksi.
“It’s paying off now,” he went on. “I just hope it continues.”
Maliksi will know the answer to that when Meralco shoots for control of this best-of-seven series this Friday at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
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