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    Mallari repays Alas chance after almost getting benched vs Alaska

    Jun 15, 2019
    PHOTO: jerome ascaño

    THE hero in Phoenix’s grind-out 78-76 win over Alaska Saturday night in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup almost didn’t suit up for the game at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

    Coach Louie Alas said Alex Mallari was supposed to be benched against the Aces as a penalty for twice coming late in practice.

    “Muntik pang hindi maglaro yan. Kung hindi namin na patch-up yun, he will not be playing today,” said the Phoenix mentor.

    It was a decision the coaching staff never regretted as Mallari rose to the occasion and came up big in the win that finally snapped the Fuel Masters’ three-game skid.


    The Fil-Am guard finished with 15 points including 10 in the final quarter as Mallari helped the team turn back the gritty Aces.

    He was a perfect 3-of-3 from three-point range, had four rebounds, and two assists, the last of which paved the way for a Justin Chua basket in the final nine seconds that broke the game’s final deadlock at 76.

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    “I guess that last play. Rich (Howell) was open but Justine made a nice cut (off the pick and roll) and so I just passed it to him,” said Mallari, who didn’t suit up in Phoenix’s last game against Rain or Shine owing to a cut on his hand.

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    Asked about him coming late to practice, Mallari didn’t deny the incident.

    “Yeah, it put a lot of pressure to play well today. Hopefully, I can come late to practice every day,” kidded Mallari.

    But he already said his piece to Alas.

    “Apologize to coach,” stressed Mallari, who gave Alas the leeway whether to bench him or not during the game.

    Apology accepted, according to Alas, especially with the way Mallari played and saved the day for the 2-3 Fuel Masters.

    “I give credit to Alex Mallari. For the longest time he was absent,” said the Phoenix coach.

    “Give credit to him because he played two-way basketball. Siya nag-i-stop sa scorer ng kalaban, at siya rin yung sumu-shoot kanina,” Alas noted.

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    PHOTO: jerome ascaño
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