HIGH-LEAPING Allein Maliksi admitted still feeling a bit lost on San Mig’s patented Triangle Offense in his first game back with the Mixers Wednesday night after recovering from a torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) on his knee.
With little time to mesh with the rest of the team owing to its recent championship run in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup, Maliksi had to rely on the inputs of assistant coach Johnny Abarrientos and some of his veteran teammates to get him to the right spot on the floor during the Mixers Governors Cup debut against Barako Bull.
“Medyo nawaala pa nga din ako sa mga plays, so si coach Johnny at `yung mga teammates ko nire-remind ako san ako pu-puwesto saka kung saan ako dadaan,” Maliksi said, shortly after the Mixers’ low-scoring 76-66 victory over the Energy at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The 6-foot-4 forward out of the University of Santo Tomas, who was out of action for the last eight months, still gave a good account of himself after finishing with eight points, a rebound and a block shot in 15 minutes of action,
“Excited siyempre, saka blessed kasi ang hirap din nun, `yung frustration, tine-test `yung patience mo pag may injury ka. So kailangang sipagan para makabalik,” added the 26-year-old San Mig swingman.
Maliksi knows his responsibility for the season-ending conference is going to increase since San Mig coach Tim Cone already said he’ll manage the playing minutes of local stars led by two-time league MVP James Yap, Peter June Simon, Mark Barroca, Marc Pingris, and Joe Devance to preserve them for the playoffs.
But Maliksi said he’s ready and is up to the challenge, despite the fact the Mixers are shooting for a rare Grand Slam finish this season.
“Thankful ako kay coach Tim kasi `yung trust niya nandun pa rin after everything that happened to me. Saka alam ko ipapahinga sila (San Mig veterans),” he said.
For now, Maliksi intends to keep working on his offense while trying his best to contribute on defense while making sure that veterans like Simon and Yap get their much-needed rest during the course of the tournament.