WHILE Alex Mallari understands the business of trades in the PBA, it still somewhat hurts him leaving Star for Mahindra.
For the big Fil-Am guard, the Hotshots are like family to him.
“Of course man, that’s my family,” said Mallari when asked if he missed his former team after making his debut with the Floodbuster on Friday night in the PBA Philippine Cup. “I had a routine, wake up, go to practice, eat downstairs. Those guys are the best, that’s for sure.”
Mallari was dealt by the Hotshots to the Floodbuster by way of a trade for Aldrech Ramos trade during the offseason.
It’s not the first time Mallari got involved in a trade, having been dealt by San Miguel Beer to Star in 2013 a year after being made No. 3 overall pick by the Beermen in the 2012 Rookie Draft.
Basically, this is no longer new to him.
But obviously, the emotional attachment with the Hotshots was too deep to ignore, having won four championships with the franchise, including the historic grand slam in 2014.
“They were good to me so this one has no hard feeling at all,” said the 29-year-old Mallari, a native of Long Beach, California.
Star is now in the past and Mahindra is the present.
As one of the few players who had championship experience in the team, Mallari led the way for the Floodbusters in a 97-75 loss to Globalport, scoring 17 points and adding nine rebounds and three assists.
He said the Floodbusters are obviously a young team with several new players on the roster including himself.
While he stressed the need to be patient, the 6-foot-4 guard said Mahindra also had to fast-track the process especially in this all-Filipino where only eight teams will advance to the playoffs after the single-round eliminations.
“They’ll learn, it’s just takes time,” he said. “But I just hope we can get together quickly. So we have to put this one behind us and move on to the next.”