SOPHOMORE wingman Allein Maliksi admitted being caught by surprise after learning he was traded by Barako Bull to San Mig Coffee on Friday morning.
The high-flying dribbler from Kalookan City has yet to begin his Governors Cup campaign with the Energy Cola when the deal was consummated, taking him to San Mig in exchange for Wesley Gonzales, guard Chris Pacana, and a second-round pick in the 2017 rookie draft.
The deal was approved by Commissioner Chito Salud on Friday afternoon.
“Nagulat nga ako. Tinawagan na lang ako ng agent ko sabi nga niya tumakbo na raw ako sa practice ng San Mig. Kinuha nga daw ako,” Maliksi related to Spin.ph as he found himself stuck in traffic trying to catch the 11 a.m. call time with the Mixers at the Ronac gym in Greenhills.
If there's one immediate concern for Maliksi, it should be his chance of getting playing time in a star-studded San Mig Coffee team.
The inaugural MVP of the PBA D-League actually hinted at what he felt about the trade when he posted on his Twitter account @alleinmaliksi shortly before joining the practice of his new team.
“I want to be like Gary David...bring your own team to the top!” Maliksi tweeted, obviously referring to the popular shooting guard of Globalport as he bids to bring Barako Bull back to respectability after it missed out on the playoffs the last two conferences.
Since being selected eighth overall in the 2011 Draft, the former UST Tiger has been traded thrice and was actually just re-acquired by the Energy Cola in the Commissioner’s Cup in a trade with Ginebra.
Maliksi’s second stint with Barako Bull was more productive as he was well-utilized by coach Bong Ramos and consultant Rajko Toroman, averaging 19 minutes of play and 9.0 points per game.
“Yun lang ang medyo kinakatakot ko, ang mas tumagal sa bench. Sa Barako kasi ako ang parang Gary David nila dun,” Maliksi narrated.
“Alam ko naman yun (lesser playing time). Medyo balik tayo sa reliever role dito sa San Mig, syempre may James Yap na sila eh,” he said. “Pero anuman ang oras na makuha ko, sisikapin kong magpakita ng maganda lagi!”
He also welcomes the opportunity to play under multi-titled coach Tim Cone.
“Saka isang nakikita kong maganda sa paglipat rito is marami rin akong matututunan kay coach Tim Cone,” he stressed. “Yun lang mami-miss ko sina coach Bong (Ramos) at Rajko (Toroman),” he said.
There were several fans which actually expressed disagreement with the trade which they felt favored the already formidable San Mig Coffee ballclub.
In a mini-poll conducted by Spin.ph, majority see no parity in the Mixers’ acquisition of a heavy young scorer in exchange for two seldom-used players in Gonzales and Pacana.