Allein Maliksi looks to make the most out his Gilas opportunity
by rick olivares
How do you overlook a six-foot-four basketball player?
It’s easy in a sport overloaded with giants who resemble tar fir trees and well, stacked and loaded line-ups. And Allein Maliksi knows a thing or two about timing and waiting for a chance.
In college, the 6’4” forward sat behind Dylan Ababou, Jeric Teng, and Khasim Mirza while playing for the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers. In his early years in the pros with Barako Bull and the Star Hotshots, Allein sat behind James Yap and Alex Mallari.
Nowadays, the 29-year old who hails from Makati is making a name for himself with the Star Hotshots as one of the team’s main men; a tough player with a predilection for scoring and making big shots. And Allein is taking his game to an even bigger stage -- playing for the Philippine Men’s Basketball National Team in the Seaba championships.
“Sa ngayon, fulfilling lahat ng nangyayari,” admitted Maliksi. “Nabibigyan na ako ng chance sa PBA to show what I can do and now I get a chance to wear the national colors. It’s very fulfilling for me right now.”
For much of his young basketball career, Maliksi played the role of reliever. In teams that went two-men deep per position, it was difficult to get minutes. “You know you can play but when you sit for so long, you have to also prove to yourself that you can play and deliver consistently. Or else you got back to the bench.”
One thing about getting older is the maturity that comes with it. At least supposedly. Maliksi, who has had to wrestle with disappointment and eroding morale has responded well to the challenges and opportunity given by Star Hotshots head coach Chito Victolero. “Siguro it’s the chance to be here,” said Maliksi. “Yung iba kasi isang pagkakataon, dalawa siguro, then wala na. Importante rin yung attitude,” revealed Maliksi. “Siguro, marami rin akong practice sa paghihintay.”
The cager allows himself to smile.
During the headshots photo shoot for the FIBA website on the eve of the Seaba tournament, Maliksi, clutched his Philippine jersey and seemed like he refused to let go. He’s right. It’s a fulfillment of all his dreams.
With Gilas Pilipinas, the line-up is deep once more. Maliksi doesn’t worry about it anymore. He knows whether he has to spell Terrence Romeo or even Calvin Abueva, he’ll relish the chance.