Maliksi hopes strong ‘On Tour’ form carries over to games that count – rezal404

Alone Maliksi has been punching in better numbers recently.  —PBA PICTURES

Alone Maliksi has been punching in better numbers recently. —PBA PICTURES

Alone Maliksi couldn’t be happy with the way his homecoming at University of Santo Tomas (UST) turned out on Wednesday.

“There’s a bit of pressure coming into the game, knowing that all eyes will be on you,” Maliksi said in Filipino after his first quarterer shooting surge propelled Meralco to a 106-93 win over Barangay Ginebra in the PBA On Tour at UST’s Quadricentennial pavilion.

“Luckily, my shots went in during the first quarter,” added Maliksi, who made 13 of his 23 points in that period to continue an impressive shooting display being put up by the Bolts wingman in the exhibition series.

With Meralco playing without some of its key players like Chris Newsome and Aaron Black, Maliksi has stepped in as the team’s top offensive weapon with averages of 21.4 points on a 51-percent shooting clip in seven games played.

Five of those games saw Maliksi score at least 21 points, including 33 in a 107-102 loss to Terrafirma last June 18. He’s also hit 52-percent of his three-point attempts, numbers not seen since his days with Magnolia.

Having a strong offensive production or almost as close as to the current On Tour numbers is something Maliksi and Meralco hope to see once the next PBA season gets underway in mid-October as they aim to finally land the franchise’s first-ever championship.

Maliksi was third among Meralco locals in scoring in each of last season’s three conferences, trailing Newsome (in the Philippine Cup and Governors’ Cup) and Black.

“I’m really trying to work on improving my game because I have to take my skills both offensively and defensively to the next level, maybe to a championship-type level for the team to have a better chance because we know that other teams are very strong,” he said.

“So there’s need to be continuous improvement and lots of hardwork,” added Maliksi, a product of UST.

Meralco has won five of eight games in the On Tour which is being used to ease the coaching transition from Norman Black to his new man at the helm, Luigi Trillo.

But the Bolts are making do without Newsome due to his participation in Gilas Pilipinas’ buildup for the Fiba (International Basketball Federation) World Cup while Black, Chris Banchero and Anjo Caram are also out due to injuries.

The Bolts have three games left in the On Tour, but will have to complete the series without Trillo, who’ll be in the United States to attend a coaching clinic and look for a prospective import in the NBA Summer League.

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