PBA: Mallari says perfect Phoenix looks like a championship contender

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Feb 08, 2019 08:20 PM
PBA: Mallari says perfect Phoenix looks like a contender
Alex Mallari sees in Phoenix a lot of qualities from San Mig Coffee's championship teams

Phoenix traded the fourth overall pick in the 2018 PBA Draft for the right to let Alex Mallari steady its backcourt.

So far, so good for the Fuel Masters and their new guard as they have motored to a 5-0 start to the season.

Their latest win just so happened to have more meaning for Mallari – as it came at the expense of the team that had traded him. “Anytime you get a win against your former team, it always feels good,” he said after helping his new team score an 83-82 triumph over NLEX, his old squad, on Friday at the MOA Arena.

Still, the seven-year veteran made it clear that, in the grand scheme of things, a victory versus the Road Warriors is just another day in the office for all of Phoenix.

What matters is that, alongside piling up wins, they have also been proving their character. As he put it, “I think every game, we give up big leads and then we get back to the game. When it gets to the playoffs, we got to limit those mental lapses.”

He then continued, “But on the positive side, when we give up those runs, we answer back. Those are signs of good character for a championship team.”

Indeed, in this one, the Fuel Masters built up a 17-point lead early on only to trail by 11 in the third quarter.

In the end, though, they came away with the win with Mallari doing his part with eight points, five rebounds, and five assists.

All in all, that kind of fight is what champions are made of. “I’ve seen that with San Mig [Coffee Mixers] when we had our championship runs. What I see now, I see a little bit of mirror image,” he said.

Mallari won four championships with the Coffee Mixers, including the rare Grand Slam in 2014.

He was quick to add, however, “I don’t want to get too carried away because we haven’t won a championship yet, but I like what I see so far. We’re 5-0 and it feels good, but we’re only halfway done. Job’s not done.”

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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