STILL motivated by his suspension in the PBA Philippine Cup over an issue concerning playing time, Allein Maliksi put up a career performance for Star on Sunday night in the Commissioner’s Cup.
Three months removed from getting benched for a week after a controversial social media post of a shirt that read, “Play me or trade me,” the Hotshots wingman played 31 minutes scored a career-high 29 points built around a flawless 6-of-6 clip from beyond the arc in the win over Tropang TNT.
“Yung issue before dun sa na-post ko, parang biruan lang naman talaga nung una yun eh,” Maliksi insisted. “Wala naman akong minimean na gusto kong message kina coach Jason (Webb) or sa management.”
“It's a humbling experience na dapat naging professional ako about it,” he added of his suspension. “Syempre coach siya, mahirap talaga mag-rotate (ng players). Yun lang. Nag sorry na lang ako kasi mali ko yun eh.”
“(Pero) medyo na-frustrate din ako na parang, ano bang kailangan kong gawin? Paano ko i-earn yung minutes na kailangan kong makuha,” the 6-foot-3 wingman said. “So trinabaho ko talaga sa practice.”
And from getting buried in the deepest end of the bench to being the team’s sixth man and occasional starter, Maliksi’s transformation has come fast.
“Even before naman, kahit nung Barako, Ginebra, or nung bago palang ako dito kina coach Tim (Cone), hard work na talaga yung ginagawa ko, pero wala din talagang opportunity,” the University of Santo Tomas product said. “Ngayon lang din talaga nabigyan ng chance at opportunity, kaya thankful na lang kay Lord at saka sa coaching staff.”
Maliksi’s extra work was evident on Sunday as his six straight treys equaled a league record for most three-point makes without a miss, joining a list of six players, including Glenn Capacio, Dondon Hontiveros, Vic Pablo, and Renren Ritualo.
“Medyo trinabaho ko yun sa practice eh,” he beamed. “Every day talagang practice akong shooting, dribbling, talagang trinabaho ko to improve myself. Every time may game, I always challenge myself na 'last game ganito yung performance ko, can I top that?' parang ganun.”
Now, he’s definitely high up in Webb’s trust ratings.
“Allein just played solid,” Webb said. “He kept us alive in the first half. He shot the lights out.”