Nov 19, 2020

Cone wary of Maliksi shooting the lights out for the Bolts

SMART Clark Giga City - Barangay Ginebra made Game 1 of the PBA Philippine Cup semifinals against Meralco an all-Kings show.

Still, that didn't leave coach Tim Cone without a concern.

Despite the 96-79 win, Cone was left baffled with the way Allein Maliksi shot the lights out for Meralco in his best game yet in the Clark bubble.

The 33-year-old gunner finished with a game-high 24 points and was 5-of-6 from three-point range in trying to carry the fight for the fifth seeded Bolts.

Cone was naturally impressed and at the same time, bothered.

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"He was awesome, was he?," said the Ginebra coach. "If he continues to shoot like that the whole series, it's going to be a tough series."

Good thing for the team, the Kings were able to shut down some of Meralco's key players including Chris Newsome, Baser Amer, and big man Raymond Almazan.

Newsome was only good for 13 points, while Amer and Almazan were a combined five points on 2-of-14 shooting from the field.

"We were able to shut the rest of them down, so we didn't feel the brunt of Maliksi's great shooting," said Cone.

The Kings also tried to slow Maliksi down, to no avail.

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"He was amazing. We put great defenders on him and he was still doing it to us," added Cone.

The biggest worry for Cone is once Maliksi and the rest of the Bolts get into their usual rhythm, then it means trouble for the top seeded Kings.

"Those other guys are going to show up. No doubt about it. Newsome's gonna get his numbers. (Bong) Quinto, Baser (Amer). They're all gonna get their numbers," said the Ginebra coach.

"And if you have that to what Maliksi did (in Game 1), it's gonna be a tough series."

Game 2 of the best-of-five semis is set on Friday also at the Angeles University Foundation gym (powered by Smart 5G).(RG)