MANILA, Philippines – Allein Maliksi, emerging as the Star Hotshots’ scoring leader in a breakout performance in the recent PBA Philippine Cup, is the latest Gilas Pilipinas’ recruit, tapped as a replacement to the injury-hit Paul Lee.
Maliksi was expected to join Gilas before the end of Day One of the national pool’s three-day training camp at Splendido in Tagaytay Tuesday. He got a surprise call only in the morning.
Lee, a part of the Gilas team in the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain, is out of this camp due to a meniscal tear.
National coach Chot Reyes, however, isn’t completely closing the door on Lee, a combo guard who can match up with the big guards in the FIBA Asia Cup in August.
Also failing to make the Tagaytay training is GlobalPort guard Terrence Romeo who’s been sick for five days. June Mar Fajardo and Japeth Aguilar were excused to get more rest after their long grinds in the recent all-Filipino tourney.
Maliksi, a former UM Hawk and UST Tiger in collegiate play, is an additional outside threat for Gilas, adding depth on the Gilas wing roster that includes Matt Wright, Art dela Cruz, Jonathan Grey, Roger Pogoy and Kevin Ferrer.
The reed-thin 6-foot-4 gunslinger led the Hotshots in scoring in the Philippine Cup with an average of 14.2 points a game – his biggest norm in a tourney since joining the league as the No. 8 pick in the 2011 PBA Draft.
Maliksi was among deadliest three-point shooters in the tourney, ranking No. 4 in average three-pointers made (2.4 an outing) and No. 5 in percentage (39.34%).
Romeo is the only Gilas player better than Maliksi on those fronts.