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It's "all about hard work" for Player of the Week Maliksi

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By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--When Star parted ways with James Yap through a blockbuster trade, many expected the guy the team got in return, Paul Lee, to lead the way.

However, it paved the way for Allein Maliksi to shine.

The high-flying Hotshot soared this past week, scoring 25.5 points and grabbing 5.0 rebounds to lead them to two huge blowout wins, earning him Player of the Week honors by the PBA Press Corps on Monday.

And he got the scoring average in just three quarters in each of the games.

After a scoreless first quarter, Maliksi sizzled for 26 points in the final 36 minutes to lift Star to a 111-95 rout of Blackwater on Wednesday while getting 25 in the first three quarters of the team's 120-73 mauling of Meralco on Saturday.

"All about hard work lang. Thankful naman ako na lumalabas yung results," Maliksi told Dugout Philippines about his timely explosion.

The wins pushed Star to at least the third seed in the quarterfinals but can still move up to the second seed, which means a twice-to-beat advantage, if the team beats Mahindra and Alaska falls to Rain Or Shine in the final day of the elimination round on Wednesday at the Cuneta Astrodome

But Maliksi is aware that Mahindra, despite being already out of contention, is still no easy opponent especially with Alex Mallari, who was also considered for the weekly citation, around.

"Mahirap makipaglaro sa mga teams na non-bearing dahil wala na silang pressure, so sa amin kailangan naming manalo," said Maliksi.

Good thing for the Hosthots, the momentum is on them.

"[Nasa] right mindset kami for the past three games. Maganda na yung chemistry ng team so far. Naghihilaan kami pataas," he continued.

Other nominees for the Player of the Week were Alaska's Kevin Racal, San Miguel's Junemar Fajardo, TNT RR Pogoy, and GlobalPort's Terrence Romeo.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno