OUTSIDE of Denzel Bowles, Alex Mallari figures to be the next most important piece in San Mig Coffee's quest to return to the PBA Commissioner's Cup finals.
The Fil-Am guard has finally started to break out of his shell after struggling for most of his rookie year, stepping up for San Mig in the series against Meralco with PJ Simon misfiring and James Yap slowed down by a back problem.
Mallari, in fact, has distinguished himself as the most impressive local performer for the Mixers in the playoffs so far, averaging 14 points, 6.5 rebounds, two assists, and two blocks in the two games against Meralco.
Mixers coach Tim Cone should find extra satisfaction in the No. 3 rookie draft pick overall's improved play, having patiently introduced Mallari to his trademark triangle offense.
“He’s (Mallari) just learning. He’s figuring things out as he goes along," said Cone of his back-up point guard.
"(I’m) just being patient and letting him work his way through. Now he’s starting to become more comfortable with what we do,” added the multi-titled coach.