ALLEIN Maliksi may have to wait until the season's third conference before he returns to action for San Mig, but he is keeping his hopes up.
All throughout the ordeal, the oft-injured forward has been trying to be patient with his rehabilitation, fighting off anxiety over a new breed of players out to displace him in the league, and holding on to words of assurance from coach Tim Cone that there will be a place for him at San Mig once he's healthy.
“Ang tagal nga. Naiinip na rin ako. Kaso kailangan kong magpagaling ng husto,” said Maliksi when Spin.ph caught up with him after his therapy session at the Moro Lorenzo Gym inside the Ateneo campus in Quezon City.
The high-flying former PBA D-League MVP has already started his rehabilition, months after suffering the second ACL injury of his career. But his workouts are limited to light work on a stationary bicycle and squat routines. He is not yet allowed to do jumping and running exercises.
“Bawal pa rin ako mag gym eh. Pero nagwo-work out naman ako para hindi mapabayaan ang katawan. Mas payat nga ako ngayon,” said the Caloocan City-born dribbler out of University of Santo Tomas.
Asked if he is not threatened by the arrival of a new breed of guards while he sits out game after game, Maliksi said he’d rather focus on getting his body in shape.
“Sabi naman ni coach Tim, he’s willing to wait. Saka hindi naman ako natatakot. Alam ko naman ang kakayahan ko,” the former UST Tiger said.
Maliksi also finds solace in knowing that he has survived a similar injury before and came out of it as good as new.
“Saka galing na ako sa injury na ito, kaya alam kong magpagaling. Saka hindi ako naniniwala na career threatening ito. Kasi madami na naggaling dito, naka recover. Mas naging maganda pa laro,” he said.
As for the entry of rookie JR Cawaling who has been tapped to fill the void while San Mig awaits his return, Maliksi said he believes in the skills of the former Far Eastern University Tamaraw.
“Mahusay yung bata na yun. Mainam nga at mabibigyan siya ng break. Equal opportunity lang naman. Saka bakit ako mate-threaten eh kahit naman hindi ako injured andyan ang threat,” he said.
And as the Mixers continue to look for somebody to step up while star player James Yap continues to struggle and sixth man Peter June Simon is on the injured list, Maliksi expressed optimism that San Mig will find a way to win no matter what.
“Babawi ang mga teammates ko. Mahirap din naman kasi na taasan ang expectation sa amin, kasi wala pang one week nag-prepare eh, sabak na agad sa aksyon,” he said.