BOCAUE – Alex Mallari hopes Mahindra’s breakthrough win in the PBA Philippine Cup would be the start of something big for the franchise.
The Floodbuster finally made the win column on Christmas Day by rallying from a 15-point deficit in the fourth quarter to stun Mahindra in overtime, 97-93, and stop the bleeding in their season-opening campaign.
Mallari willed the team back by scoring nine points in the payoff period, including six straight down the stretch that knotted the game at 81-all and paved the way for the extra period.
The 29-year-old big guard finished with 23 points to tie his career-high.
“I think we’re starting to figure things out a little bit, put guys in the right spot, and keep moving forward from here,” said Mallari, acquired by Mahindra in an offseason trade involving big man Aldrech Ramos.
Mallari said overcoming a 79-64 deficit in the final period was ‘the sweetest thing’ about the win, the first this season for the Floodbuster after losing their first five outings.
“Just keep pushing, keep pushing. The lead was 15 but the lanes were open so we keep on attacking,” added the Fil-Am big guard, noting how Mahindra has been implementing the Houston Rockets’ style of offense under deputy coach Chris Gavina.
“The lanes were open so I kept attacking. Coach kept telling me to attack so I attack.”
Arguably the new sparkplug of Mahindra this season, Mallari finished the game shooting 10 of 20 from the field. He also had 11 rebounds, four assists, and four steals, though he committed a team-high six turnovers.