BEATING a team as formidable as Barangay Ginebra also comes with a heavy price.
After pulling off an upset against the Kings, 94-77, Allein Maliksi believes Blackwater is now on the radar of every team, starting with TnT Katropa which the Elite face next in the PBA Philippine Cup.
The two teams square off in the main game of Wednesday’s doubleheader at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, and Allein Maliksi is aware the Katropa are going all-out not to experience the same fate the Kings suffered at the hands of the Elite.
“Nakasilat kami sa Ginebra. Sigurado yung TnT paghahandaan kami ng husto nun,” said Maliksi while waiting for the start of Gilas Pilipinas’ Monday-only practice at the Meralco gym.
It didn’t help the Katropa will be coming off an 88-76 loss to defending champion San Miguel in Iloilo City over the weekend in a game they dominated three-fourths of the way until losing steam in the payoff period.
“Galing pa sa talo yun, kaya for sure gusto nung makabawi,” Maliksi added.
The big win over the Kings was the second straight the Elite pulled off at the expense of a contender after a stunning win over Rain or Shine, 92-87, for a 2-1 record.
The Elite, according to Maliksi, are beginning to play cohesive basketball especially with key players finally back in full health.
“Malaki yung potential ng team especially if we all stay healthy,” said the veteran gunner from University of Santo Tomas.
He mentioned in particular sophomore big man Mac Belo, who’s slowly getting back in top form after undergoing knee procedure last season that forced him to miss the entire Commissioner’s Cup.
Belo averaged 23.5 points in Blackwater’s two victories. He and Maliksi knocked down big baskets down the stretch as the Elite weathered a late Ginebra comeback to deal the Kings their first loss.
“Ganda na ulit ng nilalaro ni Mac. Andun na ulit yung aggressiveness at kumpiyansa,” he said of the top pick in last year’s special draft involving Gilas cadets.
“Malaking bagay sa team yung mabalik niya ulit yung dati niyang laro.”