For Meralco Bolts forward Allein Maliksi, having assistant coach Luigi Trillo as his roommate until December have perks and disadvantages.
Maliksi told News5's Lyn Olavario on Wednesday that Trillo has been giving him advice for on and off the court matters.
"He told me how to attack. Most of the time, what I see is when it is too early in the shot clock or the first execution of the play, I don't look for my shot. If I'm open, then go. But if not, I need to involve all five inside, so that we could work as a unit," Maliksi said in Filipino.
The forward took that to heart as he dropped a team-high 17 points in Meralco's 93-81 win over the Alaska Aces on Wednesday. Bolts head coach Norman Black said post-game that he gave Maliksi the license to shoot if there's an open opportunity.
"That's a huge thing because you see your coach is confident with you. And you see that you're not confined to a box and a single role. Because as a player, you know your capabilities, so you practice what you can do," he explained.
Maliksi has been absorbing basketball knowledge from Trillo each day, but it means less of his personal time. He brought his PlayStation 4 with him, but hasn't been able to use it since Trillo uses the television to study game tape. Maliksi instead focuses on polishing his basketball IQ by reading books in his spare time. When does he get the urge to play PS4, he just heads to the rooms of other team's players.
"I'm currently reading a book, 'Relentless [From Good to Great to Unstoppable],' by Tim Grover. That's what helps me in my mindset inside the court, how I apply my skills. Since he had trained Michael Jordan, Dwyane Wade, and Kobe [Bryant] before, he explains their mindset and thinking of the best players," he shared.
Being a new dad himself, Maliksi was also able to pick Trillo's mind regarding the joys and challenges of parenting. Trillo is a proud father of four, and is more than willing to impart his knowledge on being a parent.
"I'm pretty fortunate of having Coach Luigi as my roommate because I could ask him not only basketball-related things but his experiences in life," said Maliksi. "I learn a lot since he has tons of experience, and I see how he treats and manages other players, their relationships, and his relationships with other coaches. That's what I learn from him."
Being inside the PBA bubble isn't that new for Maliksi, since his former team, the Blackwater Elite, usually joins pocket tournaments like the East Asia Super League in Macau. However, he has not been away from his family this long.
"I still feel sad sometimes because I see my baby's pictures or videos where I can see my family, my wife and kids. It makes me miss them even more since I'm not with them for a long time. That's one of the biggest adjustments you have to make inside the bubble."
When he saw his offspring as a virtual fan in their first game back, he felt a sense of purpose on why he continues to play the game.
"That's what I want, I said to myself, 'I want to challenge myself to extend my career for a very long time, as long as I can, as long as my body can.' So my baby and future ones can watch me play. That's the best feeling."