Mallari playing vital role for streaking NLEX

SHARES:

By:

@RLeongsonINQ

08:16 PM July 30th, 2017

Recommended
By: Randolph B. Leongson, July 30th, 2017 08:16 PM

Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

Almost three months since Kia traded Alex Mallari away, the 30-year-old swingman is making his old team look like fools as he has found a home in NLEX.

Averaging 7.3 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 2.7 assists in the Road Warriors’ first three games this 2017 PBA Governors’ Cup, the Fil-Am forward has found his niche in coach Yeng Guiao’s system as a pivotal piece in the team’s turnaround this season-ending conference.

And that was the case again on Sunday, as Mallari partnered with Carlo Lastimosa to help NLEX come away with a 95-91 victory over Phoenix to hike its record to 4-0.

Asked what he thinks is the biggest change after two conferences of languishing at the bottom of the standings, the fifth-year forward didn’t hold back and cited the player transactions as the turning point for the squad.

“I guess it’s the trade,” he said. “I didn’t really keep track of [NLEX] before that, but coach said we’ve looked a lot better than the past, so I guess it’s the trade.”

NLEX went on a trading spree late last conference, netting high-quality players much to Guiao’s liking. Mallari was part of that wave as he found himself joining a new squad together with reliable veterans in JR Quiñahan and Larry Fonacier.

And this early, the results have been promising with the Road Warriors stringing a six-game winning streak which dates back to the 2017 Commissioner’s Cup.

“Guys are not keeping the ball in their hands. When a guy’s open in the break, we’re giving it up, we’re finding each other in the open court, and everyone’s unselfish right now,” said Mallari, who has forged a solid backcourt partnership with Kevin Alas and Lastimosa.

Mallari even noted that the troika of guards, whom he regarded as a “three-headed monster,” could strike fears in the opposing backcourt in the games to come, a lesson the Fuel Masters learned the hard way.

“We can use the pick-and-roll, so I think they were in trouble with that a little bit. We just tried to take advantage of the pick-and-roll,” he said as they paired perfectly with import Aaron Fuller.

Still, Mallari said that the Road Warriors should know better to not celebrate their early success.

“I’ve seen many teams – and I’m sure coach Yeng have seen more teams than me – start strong and then probably fade a bit in the end. Going 4-0 sounds good and feels good, the best start in NLEX franchise, I think. But we’re not gonna rest our laurels on that and we’ll feed off it,” he said.

Disclaimer: Comments do not represent the views of INQUIRER.net. We reserve the right to exclude comments which are inconsistent with our editorial standards. FULL DISCLAIMER
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.