ALLEIN Maliksi picked up from where he left off as he provided instant offense in his return to Star on Wednesday night as the Hotshots rolled past Meralco, 108-90, in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
After being one of the snipers for Gilas Pilipinas in the Seaba Championship, the Hotshots rising star essayed the same role for his mother club, knocking down three of his four three-point attempts on the way to scoring 11 points in just 22 minutes off the bench against the Bolts.
What made the transition easier is playing with a familiar import in Ricardo Ratliffe, who’s in his second tour of duty for the Hotshots in the midseason tournament.
“Si Ricardo kasi kilala ko na rin, even sa Korea nagkakausap pa kami, nagkaka-chat pa kami, so ‘di na problema yung chemistry sa import tapos yung team naman okay naman,” Maliksi said. “Na-miss nga namin yung buong team pagbalik namin ni Jio.”
“Excited naman kami makalaro, ang taas ng energy namin,” he added as the national team standouts contributed to the balanced effort that enabled the team to register its eighth victory in 10 games. “Medyo maganda na yung chemistry sa defense and offense, nag-uusap na lahat.”
Maliksi believes the arrival of Ratliffe, who replaced Tony Mithcell, has lifted the Hotshots to another level, while not taking away from their former reinforcement.
“Katulad nga ng sinasabi ni coach, magkaiba kami na help sa team eh: si Ricardo kasi talagang solid player sa ilalim, si Tony solid player rin naman sa defense pero more on face the basket siya sa offense, si Ricardo may poste talaga,” Maliksi said.
“Yun ang difference,” he added, admitting Ratliffe has a slight advantage over Mitchell. “Pero feeling ko mas (okay) si Ricardo kasi ‘di napapagod, grabe. Grabe yung import namin. Si Tony kasi pagdating ng dulo medyo kinakapos, baka kulang pa sa kundisyon.”