BADER Malabes credited the experience he gained playing for De La Salle in the UAAP for his current stint with the Bahrain national team.
The Fil-Bahraini is currently here in the country to play for Bahrain in the Fiba-Asia Men’s Championship, where the team is bracketed in Group D with Kazakhstan, India, and Thailand.
Malabes, a member of the 2007 Green Archers team that won the UAAP men’s basketball championship, said he is glad to return to the country where he developed his playing skills.
Although known for his three-point shooting prowess during his college days, Malabes conceded that it was his defense that earned him a spot in the Bahrain national team.
Malabes said he learned to play defense under La Salle coach Franz Pumaren who specifically employed pressure defense during his time with the Archers.
“Playing defense under coach Franz,” said Malabes when asked what stood out in his game. “Like in Bahrain, we don’t apply that much. But I brought (playing) La Salle pressure defense (to my game) in Bahrain and I’m here today.”
Malabes, whose father is Bahraini, has been proud of his stint with the national team aside from playing in Muharraq in Bahrain’s local league.
“I’m happy to play for my country that I’ve been representing for four years straight,” said Malabes
Surprisingly, Malabes is still following La Salle basketball and knows how the Archers are faring this season in the UAAP.
“I follow La Salle. Too bad, they are not in a good position,” said Malabes, referring to his school’s 3-4 win-loss slate.
“But for me, they have the best team. They have the big man, the guards. But they have lapses in the end,” he said.
Malabes said his days with La Salle are one of his most unforgettable experiences, specially the time when they won the 2007 crown against University of the East.
“It’s something I will never forget. I still have the championship ring,” Malabes said.
Despite playing professional ball in Bahrain, Malabes is still open to returning to the country to play basketball.
But not this time, though.
“Yeah, why not? But I’m still under contract,” he said.