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Cone calls Mallari most underrated player in the league; Gabe Norwood-like

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Alex Mallari’s propensity on the defensive end gave the Star Hotshots a huge lift during its 89-82 conquest of Barangay Ginebra, Sunday, and immediately drew praise from head coach Tim Cone, saying the wing man is “very Gabe Norwood-like.”


“Right now, in this particular [season] I think Alex Mallari is the most underrated defensive player in the league,” Cone said, comparing his ward to one of the league’s top stoppers.

“Maybe not more athletic [than Norwood] but quicker. He can guard multiple positions and guards have a hard time with his length. That is why he starting for us. It’s because of defense.”

Mallari was tasked to defend whoever the ball handler was for Ginebra, and succeeded in stopping the Kings’ initial penetration early on. Sol Mercado and LA Tenorio were both hounded and failed to shake off Mallari’s pesky defense when they had the ball.

Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times Cone calls Mallari most underrated player in the league; Gabe Norwood-like

Photo by PBA Images

Mercado went only 3-for-10 from the field overall and a mere plus-5, while Tenorio was 1-for-5 and a minus-10.

The Hotshots wing man also finished with 9 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 dimes in close to 23 minutes of play, including a crucial basket in the final minute that gave the Hotshots the needed cushion to stave off Ginebra.

“I just try to play defense. A couple of times I was a little arrogant and coach went at me. He pulled me out but gave me a second chance and told me to regroup. I made up some ground,” Mallari shared, adding Cone’s praise was a big compliment.

“It’s a compliment but that is what I try to do because this is what I can do for the team. That compliment is at the highest regard at this level.”

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