Meralco head coach Norman Black was left puzzled on what caused Allein Maliksi to lose his cool that led to him getting thrown out of their crucial game against Magnolia on Sunday, Nov. 27.
The Bolts gunner hit the showers early in the first half after being assessed with a technical foul in the first quarter and another flagrant foul penalty 1 incursion following his elbow hit to the face of Paul Lee in the second frame.
Black lamented that Maliksi should have become more mindful of his actions, especially that the Bolts needed all the help it could get to stay in the hunt for a spot in the quarterfinals.
“I didn’t quite understand that from Allein tonight. I didn’t understand why he’s so upset. Basketball is a physical game. I didn’t see anything dirty so he’s got to be more attentive to the importance of the game and his importance to the team,” said the veteran mentor moments after his team absorbed a 108-96 loss against the Hotshots.
Maliksi’s ejection proved to be too costly for Meralco as without a reliable floor spacer the Hotshots defense clogged the paint and forced the Bolts to turnovers in the second half, fueling Magnolia’s 47-point explosion in the third frame.
From there, the Bolts never recovered as import KJ McDaniels was left huffing and puffing as he carried much of the offensive load for Meralco with his 32 points and nine rebounds.
“He can’t put himself in that situation where he’s not available to us and I think everybody knows he’s our best outside shooter. He’s our best perimeter spacer that did hurt us in the second half,” rued Black.
“But that is not an excuse for committing so many turnovers and giving up so many fastbreak points like we did in the third quarter,” he added.
Lee, who defended and managed to get into the head of Maliksi, echoed the same sentiment of the Meralco coach saying that his absence worked to Magnolia’s favor.
“How many times na nangyari na nasasaktan kami ni Allein. If he gets hot early, mahihirapan talaga kami kasi once na makuha niya yung rhythm nya kaya niyang pumotok 10 points straight so the coaches reminded me na wag ko nang bigyan ng chance, less touches nya mas okay sa’min,” said Magnolia star.
The loss snapped Meralco’s three-game winning run and put its playoff hopes in a difficult situation. The Bolts now need to sweep their last two games to at least force a logjam from fifth to ninth spot of the standings and pray that the quotient would fall in their favor.
Credit belongs to : www.mb.com.ph