Alex Mallari hopes NLEX finally makes strides after strong finish to sad Commissioner's Cup stint
Alex Mallari sees NLEX's strong finish as a sign of good things to come for the Road Warriors. Jerome Ascano

ANTIPOLO City – Alex Mallari hopes NLEX would be able to carry over to the PBA Governors the little gains the team made to end its Commissioner’s Cup campaign.

The Fil-Am guard was glad seeing the Road Warriors make strides in their last two outings, including a 116-114 upset of the Phoenix Road Warriors in their final game of the eliminations during Petron’s Saturday special game at the Ynares Sports Center here.

Mallari led the NLEX charge with 22 points, nine rebounds, and five assists in an all-around performance that netted the team its second straight win and end up with a 2-9 (win-loss) record.

“It’s something good to build on and see where we can thrive and take advantage of,” said the 30-year-old native of Long Beach, California, who was acquired by the Road Warriors in a multi-player deal that also involved Mahindra and TnT Katropa.

“Hopefully, we can make some noise next conference.”

[See Strong exit for NLEX with gritty win over Phoenix]

Apart from Phoenix, NLEX also beat Alaska, 100-92, this week as the team dealt severe blows to the playoff chances of both the Fuel Masters and the Aces.

The back-to-back wins definitely brought back the smile on the face of the 6-foot-4 guard, who’s so used to winning in the past after his stints with Petron and the San Mig Coffee team of which he was a key player during its grand slam season in 2014.

“I missed winning. I couldn’t freakin’ sleep at night, seriously,” he said with a wry smile. “I was the grumpiest dude at home.”

But at the same time, he was happy seeing his former team Mahindra also thrived following the trade as the Floodbuster likewise won back-to-back games with new acquisitions Eric Camson and Glenn Khobuntin around.

It just so happened, things weren’t meant to be.

“With due respect to Mahindra, there’s more experience over here, not just players but also coaches,” he pointed out. “It’s good to be with veterans again, for sure.”

Now that their conference has ended, the Road Warriors will take a two-week break and won’t be back in training until June 7.

Mallari will be using the two-week break to go surfing in Siargao.

“So hopefully, guys stay in shape,” he said before excusing himself.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @gerardmos