Alex Mallari made sure Mahindra won’t end the Holiday season winless.
The left-handed Mallari banged in a career-tying 23 points, hauled down 11 rebounds, issued four assists and added four steals to gift the Floodbuster a thrilling 97-93 overtime win against Blackwater Elite on Christmas Day at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.
The Fil-American wingman was at his best in the payoff quarter, firing nine points to help Mahindra stage a giant comeback from a 15-point deficit and force the extension period.
Mahindra then, rode on the momentum of its late-game fightback to finally barge into the win column after opening the Philippine Cup with five straight losses.
Mallari’s scintillating performance earned him the last Accel-PBA Press Corps Player of the Week for 2016, beating out the likes of Phoenix rookie Matthew Wright, Ginebra’s Japeth Aguilar, Rain or Shine big man Jewel Ponferada and Blackwater freshman Mac Belo.
Known for his ability to slash to the basket, Mallari was on attack basket every time he sees a slight opening from Blackwater’s seemingly relaxed defense.
“The lanes were open so I kept attacking. Coach (Chris Gavina) kept telling me to attack so I attack,” said Mallari, a four-time PBA champion, who was traded to Mahindra in the offseason.
Mahindra will take a long break before swinging back to action on January 11 against Meralco at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.