ALEX Mallari is starting to embrace his role as a leader for Mahindra with another solid showing in the 114-104 loss to Phoenix on Sunday in the PBA Philippine Cup.
The fifth-year wingman has been the Floodbuster’s most consistent performer so far, coming in averaging a near double-double of 13.5 points and 9.5 boards in their first two games.
And Mallari sustained his dependable performance by putting up a team-high 19 points, four boards, two assists, and one steal in 28 minutes – almost the most in the team, as he proved to be a silver lining in the Floodbuster's third straight loss.
While acknowledging veterans Ryan Arana and Rey Guevarra, and point guard LA Revilla are the Floodbuster’s leaders, Mallari said he won't shy away if the team officially put the label on him as well.
“We got a bunch of veterans and championship experience like Ryan and we have Rey and LA, but if they want me to jump to that role, I’ll be happy to take it,” the 29-year-old cager said.
Mahindra coach Chris Gavina is already convinced that Mallari is among those who the rest of the young team should look up to after the departure of Nino Canaleta and Aldrech Ramos.
“Last year, we were used to having KG and Aldrech being our leaders and everybody just followed suit, so now, everybody’s looking for a leader and for me, and it has to be LA, Ryan, and Alex,” Gavina said.
“Everybody else has to establish their roles as we move forward,” he added.
Mallari, who joined Arana, and Revilla in the finishing group that went on a 21-0 run to make the score less embarrassing – like they did in the loss to Rain or Shine, draws confidence from the late run.
“We just gotta put it all together through forty-eight minutes,” the 6-foot-4 point forward said.