MANILA, Philippines – It was not so long ago when Allein Maliksi put up modest numbers in the PBA Governors’ Cup playoffs.
But Maliksi has found another gear, electrifying Meralco to a 104-91 win over Barangay Ginebra in Game 1 of the Governors’ Cup finals on Wednesday, April 6.
Maliksi posted a team-high 22 points on a 5-of-7 three-point clip to go with 8 rebounds as he remained hot just days after putting up 24 points on 69% shooting in their sudden death win over Magnolia in the semifinals.
What has been the difference for Maliksi in his resurgence? He is getting more scoring opportunities.
“If you’re touching the ball, you get a feel of the game,” Maliksi said in a mix of Filipino and English. “But if you’re just running and waiting for the ball for a long time before you shoot it, it is hard.”
“Now, we move the ball well and we patiently execute our offense. Our hard work in practice and in the offseason is paying off. I hope it continues.”
The scheme of feeding Maliksi the ball and letting him find his spots was evident in the second quarter, where the Bolts built a 53-42 halftime lead.
Coming off the bench with six minutes left in the first half, Maliksi waxed hot and scattered 10 markers on a perfect 4-of-4 clip during that stretch as he finished with a game-high 15 points going into the break.
To put into perspective how much Maliksi has gotten more involved on offense, he shot a total of 29 field goals in his last two games.
In comparison, Maliksi attempted just 28 shots in the first four games of their best-of-five semifinals against the Hotshots, where he averaged only 7.5 points and breached double figures just once.
“The difference between the time I struggled and my last two games is I’m getting more touches. My teammates are creating for me,” Maliksi said.
“I appreciate everything they’re doing for me.”
As much as Maliksi and Meralco are on a roll right now, the 34-year-old veteran said they have not achieved anything yet.
“It is just one game,” Maliksi said. “We’re still not celebrating this win. Our goal is to win the championship.” – Rappler.com