ALEX Mallari's transition from NLEX to Phoenix has been almost seamless.
The 6-foot-4 played 35 minutes in his Phoenix debut - the most in the team after star Matthew Wright - and contributed 11 points, eight rebounds and five assists in a thrilling 93-92 overtime victory over Meralco.
Mallari, acquired from NLEX along with Dave Marcelo in exchange for the No. 4 pick in the last PBA rookie draft, thrived in the big point guard role as he shared playmaking duties with LA Revilla.
“I think that’s how they want to use me,” said Mallari. “We can do a lot of stuff on defense with switches and any way I can help the team. We’ve got a lot of shooters so I want to facilitate a lot. Hopefully, I can do that and sustain that kind of production.”
Mallari played down his offensive production in his first game with Phoenix Pulse, insisting that his first option as point guard is to find open teammates.
“My teammates made me look good. I’m going to find them as long as they hit the shot. Credit to them. I’m just finding my teammates. That’s all,” said Mallari.
Mallari and Co. got the win on Calvin Abueva's putback in the final seconds after letting an 18-point lead slip away. That shows the Fuel Masters are very much a work in progress, he said.
“Thrilling one to say the least,” said Mallari. “It was a good game. I don’t think we executed as well as we wanted to. We still have some new guys. Hopefully, in the next few days, we can clean it up and get another victory.”