ALLEIN Maliksi played down his efficient offensive production on Wednesday night, insisting his focus was primarily on defense, particularly on Mac Belo in Star’s 111-95 win over Blackwater on Wednesday in the PBA Philippine Cup.
The Hotshots gunner poured in 26 points – all in the last three quarters - on 10-of-17 shooting, highlighted by four three-pointers, five boards, one assist, and one steal in just 23 minutes off the bench.
But Maliksi also left a huge imprint on defense by holding Belo to just six points on just seven attempts, including two missed triples, although the top rookie pick added seven boards in 31 minutes as a starter.
“Ang mentality ko is to play defense talaga,” Maliksi said, embracing the defensive job that also could’ve been assigned to Marc Pingris. “Sabi ko kay coach, ako bahala kay Belo and sa mga babantayan ko. Good job naman sa defense.”
"Sa offense, kahit sino naman pumutok sa amin,” he added after coming three points shy of matching his career high.
Pingris, a three-time Defensive Player of the Year, can attest to Maliksi’s progress as a defensive player.
“Lagi ko siyang kinakausap sa practice, kako, ‘Allein, may tira ka sa labas, matangkad ka, pero medyo pagsasabihan lang kita ng payong kuya na dagdagan mo yung depensa mo,’” Pingris said. “Tapos nagpapaturo rin siya sa akin kung anong gagawin, so tinuturo ko sa kanya yung mga tinuro rin sa akin dati.”
“I’m happy na nagawa rin niya kanina (yung magandang depensa kay Belo),” he added.
Maliksi simply wants to be known as a two-way player.
“If your mindset is playing good defense and pag naging defensive player ka, kasi syempre alam natin ang dami nang scorer dito, so ‘di pwede one-way player,” the former University of Santo Tomas star said.