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    Alex Mallari sees similarities between Phoenix and his old San Mig side

    Feb 8, 2019
    PHOTO: Jerome Ascano

    ALEX Mallari was honest enough to admit that he felt good getting one over his old team NLEX after Phoenix's 83-82 squeaker in the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup on Friday night.

    "Anytime you get a win against your former team, it always feels good," said Mallari, who finished with six points, five rebounds, five assists, and three steals in the win.

    Mallari, dealt to the Fuel Masters in the offseason together with Dave Marcelo for the No. 4 pick in the 2018 PBA Rookie Draft, said he shared his familiarity with the NLEX system to the coaching staff to help plot the game plan.

    "They run the same stuff so I figured I'll do anything I can to help our team have a better game plan against them," he said.

    His inputs came in handy in a game where Phoenix jumped to a 17-point lead, fall behind by 11 points in the third quarter before holding off NLEX in a thrilling finish.

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    Mallari said the fortitude Phoenix showed after losing a big lead reminded him of an admirable trait he saw from his old San Mig team which won the Grand Slam back in 2014.

    "When we give up those runs, we answer back and those are signs of good character for a championship team," he said. "I've seen that with San Mig when we've had our championship runs. What I see now, I see a little bit of mirror image.

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    "I don't want to get too carried away because we haven't won a championship yet, but I like what I see so far."

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    As Phoenix sits pretty at the top of the standings at 5-0, Mallari knew better not to put too much weight on his side's early success, knowing championships aren't won at this stage of a conference.

    "I think (Phoenix) was at the top of the standings last conference. They got to the quarters and they got knocked out. So I don't think we pay attention to that," he said as the Fuel Masters turn their attention to Rain or Shine which they play on Sunday.

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    "We're 5-0 and it feels good, but job's not done."

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    PHOTO: Jerome Ascano
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