Alex Mallari admits pressure as he anchors NLEX backcourt in Ravena, Alas absence
Alex Mallari has been shouldering more of the load without Kiefer Ravena and Kevin Alas, but expects his fellow veterans to step up. Marlo Cueto

AFTER losing Kevin Alas to an ACL injury and now Kiefer Ravena to his 18-month Fiba ban after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs, NLEX has been left seeking answers.

Even Alex Mallari admits that it’s hard to make up for those losses, but the Road Warriors have no choice but to take the challenge head on.

“I guess you could say there’s more pressure on me. But the responsibility should also fall on the other veterans like Larry (Fonacier), JR (Quiñahan), and Cyrus (Baguio),” he said.

Mallari has been thrust into the spotlight as anchor of the NLEX offense. And in his second game in that role, the Fil-Am swingman finished with 15 points, three rebounds, and six assists.

Unfortunately, it takes more than that to topple a team as mighty as TNT as NLEX suffered a 117-106 defeat on Sunday and fell to a 2-5 card in the 2018 PBA Commissioner’s Cup.

That fact isn’t lost on Mallari.

“The rest of our games are not easy. It’s gonna be a tough, tough road for us the last four games,” he lamented.

But a team coached by Yeng Guiao is not one to quit easily, and Mallari remains positive on NLEX’s chances to make it to the Top Eight.

“We can do it if we play like we did in our wins, but if we play like we did in our losses, it’s gonna be a short conference for us. It’s pretty simple. It’s not rocket science anymore,” he said.

“As long as the math is still there, we’re gonna keep on fighting. We got guys who still think we can do it so we’ll fight until the end, period.”

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