Victolero, Lee quick to leap to defense of misfiring Allein Maliksi after Star's OT loss
Allein Maliksi topscored for Star with 15 points but went 6-of-16 from the field. Jaime Campos

ALLEIN Maliksi doesn’t see any need to apologize after misfiring on his shots down the stretch in Star’s overtime loss to Alaska in the PBA Philippine Cup on Wednesday night.

The 29-year-old shooting guard had 11 points in the payoff period as he led a fiery Hotshots comeback from 11 points down, but lost steam in the endgame when he began missing shots one after the other that contributed to Star’s downfall, 97-90, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Maliksi had a team-high 15 points but finished 6-of-16 from the field, including two straight missed attempts in the waning seconds of regulation that could have won it for the team.

But he later said there was no effort on his part to overdo it, adding he just failed to get his rhythm back when the outcome of game was on the line.

“Proper mechanics lang ng shots ko, yung proper timing ng release medyo nawala,” said Maliksi, who added nine rebounds but was 3-of-9 from three-point range. “Missed shots lang.”

[See Abueva, Manuel re-energize Alaska in overtime win over Star]

Star coach Chito Victolero came to Maliksi’s defense, saying the Hotshots’ final play in regulation was designed precisely for the former University of Santo Tomas stalwart.

“Sa kanya talaga yung play na yun,” said Victolero.

Teammate Paul Lee also stood up for his embattled teammate, who got most of the flak for Star’s fourth loss in seven outings.

“Sa akin naman wala yun. Kung open ka naman at nandun yung opportunity, ok lang,” stressed Lee, who finished with 10 points but was held to a 4 of 15 shooting.

Maliksi said he also opted to take charge late in the game since most of his teammates had been struggling making their shots.

“Hindi lang nag-fall yung mga tira ng ibang (teammates ko). Halos lahat sa team nag-struggle yung outside shots,” he pointed out.

Maliksi said there everybody in the Hotshots have the license to shoot and are not restricted by Victolero.

“Kung sino open or kung sino sa tingin na libreng tumira, go. Nakikita ko rin minsan na may opportunity na tumira, tinitira ko lang pag may chance,” he said. “Wala namang restrictions si coach.”

The Hotshots ended up making just 36 of their 96 shots for a 38 percent shooting from the floor.

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