From last-minute addition to ‘Gilas 12’, Maliksi feels blessed beyond belief

LUCENA CITY—Everything seems to be falling in the right place for Star wingman Allein Maliksi.

h crowning himself as the Three-Point Shootout king for the first time in his pro league career, the 6-foot-4 Hotshots gunner reached another milestone Friday night when he was named by Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes to the national team’s “SEABA 12”.

“Thankful and blessed na medyo ‘yung lahat nagma-match na,” admitted Maliksi, keeping himself composed amid a big scrum at the Quezon Convention Center floor following Gilas Pilipinas’ stunning 122-111 victory over powerhouse PBA-Team Luzon in the second leg of the 2017 PBA All-Star Week here.

The former University of Santo Tomas standout sure has every reason to be blessed these days since he finally realized a long cherished dream of donning the country’s tricolors in international stage despite coming in as a late replacement to more heralded Star teammate Paul Lee.

His inclusion to the national team, which will gun for the lone FIBA Asia Cup ticket in the May 12 to 18 event, didn’t come on a silver platter though, admitted the 29-year-old Maliksi.

“Hindi ko in-expect na maila-lineup ako, pero I work hard every practice to earn it,” he said. “Hindi naman surprising (‘yung selection) that much. I need to turn it up na makasama sa Final 12.

“Siyempre even before gusto ko na makalaro sa national team. Sino ba naman ang hindi? It’s an honor to serve our country. Ang laking fulfilment sa career ko. Kaya I work very hard to improve my game.”

And Maliksi feels nothing less than a grateful one for another big break on his career once hampered by injuries.

“‘Yun ‘yung sinasabi na in God’s perfect time. Dadating rin ‘yung mga opportunities. You just have to be ready when the time comes. Siyempre thankful kay God sa opportunity na dumating dito  sa point ng career ko,” he said.

“Preparation and focus lang. Just need to be ready every time na dumating ‘yung ganitong opportunity. Dumating ‘yung time na you need to make shots, you have to make it. Kailangan i-ready lang ang sarili.”

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