PAYBACK was hardly in the mind of Allein Maliksi in his first PBA meeting with former team Magnolia.
All he’s concerned about was to help Blackwater get over the hump in the season-opening Philippine Cup.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case on Friday as the Hotshots stretched the Elite’s losing streak after a thrilling 78-72 win at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Maliksi fired 17 points for Blackwater as he went up against Magnolia for the first time since being traded late last season along with big man Chris Javier for the duo of BamBam Gamalinda and Kyle Pascual.
But he also shot poorly from the field, going just 7-of-20 overall and failing to help Blackwater’s cause as the team suffered its fourth straight loss for a 2-5 record.
“Hindi puwedeng may off-night. Medyo masama rin yung shooting ko bandang huli. Kailangan collective effort dapat para talunin mo yung isang elite team, isang champion team,” said Maliksi.
The woeful shooting definitely had nothing to do with trying to prove something to the Hotshots, where Maliksi won four championships, including the grand slam in 2014.
“Wala namang (gigil). Of course, as much as possible gusto mong magpakita, pero ang una kong inisip is manalo at matulungan yung team. Hindi puwedeng kailangan magpakita ako kasi may kailangan akong patunayan,” said the 30-year-old gunner from University of Santo Tomas.
"Nung na-trade ako, ang mindset ko wala naman akong kailangang patunayan. Kailangan ko lang makatulong sa bago kong team.”
He did exactly that as he and Mac Belo brought the Elite back to life in the fourth quarter. From as much as a 13-point deficit, the underdogs tied the score at 72-all inside the final minute.
But breaks didn’t go their way, allowing the Hotshots to escape with their fifth straight win to retake the solo lead at 6-1.
Maliksi said the Elite had no one to blame but themselves.
“Nakakahinayang kasi andun na,” he stressed. "Sana hindi kami nagpaabot na matambakan ng malaki para hindi kami kinapos.”