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    James Yap welcomes return of fit-again Maliksi as weary San Mig plunges back into action

    May 20, 2014
    Allein Maliksi is ready to rejoin San Mig after the second major knee surgery of his pro career. Jerome Ascano

    IF San Mig is to complete a rare grand slam, James Yap said the team needs to stay hungry, with not a moment to relax.

    “Ito yung challenge sa amin ngayon, kailangan talaga manatili kaming gutom," said Yap, crowned the Finals MVP in San Mig's conquest of the Commissioner's Cup championship. "Hindi kami puwedeng mag-relax. Sa next (third) conference, focused na ulit kasi dahil may game na kami agad.”

    San Mig plunges back into action on Wednesday in a game against Barako Bull in the Governors Cup, just six days after scoring a 3-1 series win over Talk ‘N Text in the Commissioner's Cup Finals for the franchise’s third straight championship.

    With no luxury of rest, Cone has hinted at giving his starters a lot of rest in the early stages of the season-ending conference, in the hope of keeping them fresh for the playoffs when the Mixers gun for just the fifth grand slam in the pro league's 39 years.

    Yap, no longer a spring chicken at 32, said he wouldn't mind if Cone reduces his playing minutes in the single-round eliminations in order to preserve him for the playoffs.

    “Kapag ganyan (playing time) bigay ko na kay coach kung anong diskarte ang gagawin niya,” he said.

    Still, he is happy to have a deep supporting cast to pick up the cudgels for San Mig while the starters rest, pointing specifically to the return of high-flying swingman Allein Maliksi who is set to rejoin the Mixers after recovering from a knee injury.

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    Maliksi suffered an ACL tear, the second in his young PBA career, in September last year, but has since recovered after doing rehab and strengthening.

    “Si Allein, unti-unti nang bumabalik. At least may isang player pa kami. Nakikita ko healthy na siya. At malaking bagay siya sa amin,” the two-time league MVP from Escalante, Negros Occidental said.

    “Ako naman, hangga't kaya ko, lalaro ako, pero kailangan lang talaga mag-therapy, kasi iba na laro ngayon. Physical na eh,” added Yap, who has played through back and elbow injuries the past two seasons.

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    Allein Maliksi is ready to rejoin San Mig after the second major knee surgery of his pro career. Jerome Ascano
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