Allein Maliksi is listed as ‘probable to play’ for Meralco in Game Six of the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup semifinals versus Magnolia, Friday.
The veteran gunner is reportedly nursing a fractured cheekbone, which he apparently suffered during their previous meeting yesterday.
“Allein is probable for the game vs Magnolia tomorrow,” wrote head coach Norman Black in a text message to Tiebreaker Times, Thursday afternoon.
“We are in the process of having him fitted for a protective face mask.”
Maliksi suffered the injury with 6:20 left in Game Five while defending Mark Barroca. He was trailing the Hotshots guard when the latter’s head inadvertently hit him. The 34-year-old looked visibly shaken up, even clutching his left cheek.
But it didn’t take long for him to stand up, and he managed to finish the game. He went on to fire a playoff career-high 29 points on seven triples to lead the Bolts to the 102-98 win, chopping their foes’ lead to 3-2.
It was the 6-foot-4 swingman’s best game of the semis thus far. Before this, he averaged just a little over five points in the first four games.
Now, the MVP Group-owned ball club will figure in another do-or-die match at 6:00 PM. There, it will attempt to send the best-of-seven series to the distance.
“Friday night, do-or-die. There are no tomorrows for us,” said Black. “We can’t really think about any confidence or be too happy with the win. Instead, we just have to focus on what we have to do to beat Magnolia again.
“I know it’s gonna be difficult. Magnolia’s gonna be really ready for us next game, but we just have to do it one more time.”
Should Maliksi play, Meralco will have itself a complete arsenal. Sophomore guard Aaron Black will return after sitting out for weeks due to a hand injury, which he incurred versus Terrafirma last September 16.
Raymond Almazan came back from a two-game absence due to an ankle injury Wednesday, days after the Bolts welcomed Trevis Jackson and Jammer Jamito after undergoing the league’s health and safety protocols.