ALEX Mallari is thrilled to play for Phoenix alongside Calvin Abueva after being traded to the Fuel Masters.
Mallari and Dave Marcelo were shipped from NLEX to Phoenix for the No. 4 pick in the 2018 PBA Draft set to take place on Sunday at Robinson’s Manila. The trade, though, hasn’t been approved by the Office of the Commissioner.
Mallari has no hard feelings about the trade.
“It’s a business move,” said Mallari, who appeared during the PBA Draft Combine on Thursday. “NLEX wanted to head in a different direction and Phoenix decided they wanted me so the trade happened. I’m excited. There is a lot of talent in Phoenix this year.”
“I'm just here to do this job. It's not new to me. I understand that the team wants a different direction. It's all part of it. It's not just me, but also Dave. Anytime your contract is up, you don't know what's going to happen. If something comes up, you're not going be shocked about it. Whatever happens, happens,” he added.
Mallari and Marcelo join a Phoenix squad that is coming off an impressive Governors’ Cup campaign. The Fuel Masters placed second at the end of the eliminations before being eliminated by Meralco in the quarterfinals.
“One of the first things I thought about was Calvin. Everything he brings is unorthodox, wild, chaoticness. I’m actually excited to play with him and Matt (Wright). They got a lot of talent there for sure,” said Mallari.
Mallari is eager to contribute to the Phoenix’s title bid.
“They wanted to prove that they can compete with the big boys. So hopefully, I can help take them take the next hurdle to the finals. Who knows,” Mallari said.
This early, Phoenix coach Louie Alas has a lot of good thing to say about Mallari and Marcelo, and counting on the two to contribute to the Fuel Masters immediately,
“It’s a lot of pressure on me, I guess,” said Mallari, when told about Alas’ statements. “I value that.”
“They wanted to prove that they can compete with the big boys. So hopefully, I can help take them take the next hurdle to the finals. Who knows,” said Mallari, who will begin attending practice with Phoenix on Friday.
Mallari also assured he is healthy, on the way to recovery from a high ankle sprain that caused him to miss games with NLEX late in the Governors’ Cup.